Category Archives: food

bakin’ up a storm.

In the midst of graduating from college and moving home for the summer, I found time to bake a few things, too. As you can probably guess, I really enjoy baking for my friend’s birthdays! It’s a great time to try out new, usually excessive recipes that I wouldn’t get a chance to make normally.

monkey bread.

for Mary and Laura’s birthday:
chocolate peanut butter cake (glaze omitted so we didn’t die from a sugar coma).
pumpkin muffins (minus the cream cheese filling.)

irish soda bread (a combination of many recipes, I believe).

banana chocolate chip bread.

for my roommate, Kate’s, (early) birthday:
tres leches cake & black-bottom cupcakes.

and for Jessie’s birthday…
  the rainbow cake! (with a double batch of this icing.)

And here’s a few of the other things that I’ve baked recently that I didn’t get pictures of… Spiced Applesauce Bread. Peanut Butter Banana Bread (with added chocolate chips) . Strawberry Shortcake Cookies.

P.S. I think my obsession with smitten kitchen is completely obvious after this post.


buttermilk biscuits.

There’s been a lot going on in these past few weeks, including birthdays, formals, drafts of papers, meetings, and much more. In the midst of everything, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I graduate in just a few short weeks, and I’ve been (mostly) failing.

This morning, however, I dragged myself out of bed and headed straight to the oven. Something about measuring, mixing, and cutting out uniform rounds of dough is comforting. When I can control nothing else, I can control this. So, yes, these are my final days of college, and I’m choosing to talk about biscuits rather than the jumble of thoughts in my head.

Because sometimes writing about food is easier than writing about feelings–especially if I’m not sure how I feel right now.

My past attempts at making biscuits from scratch have failed miserably. Finally, thanks to this recipe, I think I’ve had a breakthrough. I mean, my biscuits still aren’t perfect, but they’re getting better. I’m getting closer…in more ways than one.

But for now, you’ll have to excuse me. I have papers to write, places to go, and biscuits to eat.

grandma’s apple pie.

Apple pie is best made with friends. Because it’s more fun that way. Because good food (and calories) should be shared. Because cutting up all of those apples by yourself is a lot of work. (Thanks for being such a great help, T.!)

Apple pie also happens to be one of my favorite desserts of all time. Baked apples with lots of cinnamon, flaky pie crust, and a crunchy sugar topping–it can’t get any better. My grandma also happens to make my favorite apple pie in the entire world. While I love pie crust, I like my apple pie with a crumble topping, and that’s exactly how she makes it.

For this particular apple pie, I combined parts of each of grandmother’s recipes. I used my maternal  Grandmother’s “never fail” pie crust recipe, and my paternal grandmother’s filling and topping recipes. The result was an absolutely delicious pie that incorporated elements of both sides of my family. My family has a lot of good cooks and bakers, and I love the recipes that they have passed down to me. I love knowing that the recipes I make today are ones that they could have made thirty years ago (or longer!). While we may be in different places and in different circumstances, something as simple as an apple pie keeps us connected.

Apple Pie

Crust (from Grandma K.):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (I used butter-flavored Crisco)
¼ cup cold water
2 tsp. white vinegar

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Mix in water and vinegar until just combined. Dump dough out onto a floured counter and roll out into round shape for pie crust. Place into a deep dish pie plate (or a 9 inch cake pan if you’re me!) and crimp the edges if desired (I have yet to master this part).

Tip: keep everything cold! It makes the pie crust much flakier and easier to deal with. If the dough gets too soft and hard to handle, just cover it and place it into the fridge until it cools.

Filling (from Grandma B.):
4 cups sliced apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cut up apples really small; don’t just slice them! I think this makes a huge difference because it allows the pieces to break down and cook more evenly. Combine other ingredients and then mix them with the apple pieces. Place apple filling in crust.

Topping (from Grandma B.):
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 stick butter

Mix topping with pastry blender, then sprinkle on top of apple mixture. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch any juices that may bubble over from the baking pie.

Bake pie in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 min. It will be done when you stick a fork in the apples and they are soft and mushy. You may have to put foil on edge of crust if its starts to get too brown (I did for the last 5-10 minutes).

Let pie cool for several minutes before eating or else your slices will turn out looking like ours! (But don’t let their appearance fool you: they were still delicious.)

irish car bomb cupcakes.

An Irish Car Bomb is a drink composed of a shot of Bailey’s and Irish whiskey dropped into a glass of Guinesss. The drink has to be drank immediately after the shot is dropped in or else it will curdle, but somehow, the Guinness and Baileys combine to make something that actually tastes pretty good.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day a couple of weeks ago, I baked a cupcake version of an Irish Car Bomb. While I wasn’t able to make them on St. Patrick’s Day because of Spring Break, I just made them belatedly when I got back to my apartment. While the cupcake version is a much sweeter experience, it still retains a lot of the essential elements of the drink, namely Guinness (baked into the chocolate cake) and Bailey’s (in the filling and frosting).

While I baked these cupcakes in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, don’t let the fact that the holiday has passed keep you from trying them. They are good enough to be eaten any day, not just on a holiday. I consider them to be one of the best things I’ve baked all year, and I’ve baked a lot! In other news, I need to buy a real piping bag because the icing on these just looks sad.

The recipe for the cupcakes is from Annie’s Eats; I didn’t make any changes except to use chocolate mint Bailey’s (well, actually an off-brand) instead of the normal kind. I think the faint hint of mint makes them taste even better!