Buckwheat Butter Cookies and Barbados Biscuits

I baked a pair of recipes from Claire Ptak's The Violet Bakery Cookbook for the USDS holiday party. This year's desserts were supplied by attendees in the form of a cookie war, and I wanted to make sure there was at least two gluten-free entries. I made a double batch of buckwheat butter cookies (a slice-and-bake shortbread with chopped nuts and candied citrus peel) and a single batch of barbados biscuits (fudgy almond macarons with a pecan topping) because the former used one egg yolk in each batch and the latter used two egg whites.

The Baking Bible

The Kiss Quotient

Chai Yogurt Cheesecake

The inspiration for this recipe came from a class I took at Culinaria that featured a pumpkin cheesecake with a pepparkakor crust. While I'm not a big fan of New York-style cheesecake custard or of pumpkin-flavored things, I loved the crust made from butter and pepparkakor crumbs. The warm spices used in the cookies (cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves) are also traditionally used in chai tea, so I wanted to try building a cheesecake around chai-infused cream.

Pecan Whole Wheat Bread

This was the first recipe I tried from my anniversary present this year, Rose Beranbaum's The Baking Bible. Though the recipe has three separate rising steps and called for vital wheat gluten (an ingredient I had never heard of before but that Wegman's had in abundance), it felt easy due to the extremely detailed instructions Beranbaum provides. The resultant loaf was had a crisp crust and a delicate but richly flavored crumb.

The Art of Business Value

Juliet Takes a Breath

Pecan Pignoli

I have always loved pignoli and was looking for a way to get rid of some extra pecan halves that had been in my freezer for nearly a year. My parents send me a large bag from Texas every Christmas, and I never manage to use them all before the next bag arrives. The recipe I tried to adapt, though, did not seem to have enough internal strength to hoist a full pecan half, as the end result sagged and flattened rather than puffing into a chewy dome as happens when using pine nuts (which are much smaller and lighter).

New Uses for Old Blogs

As you might have surmised from the time elapsed since my most recent post, I have not been keeping up with my goal to write more regularly. I believe this is because I set content goals that were both too specific to be easily met and too vague to make coming up with posts and pages any easier. Neither “short tutorials related to personal projects” nor “reviews of technical books I've read and reacted strongly to” inspires much enthusiasm in me as a writer from week to week, so this site has mostly languished, barren and unread.


Sweet Potato Galette

I was disappointed this year when my partner talked me out of baking a sweet potato or pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. We were hosting my parents, who were bringing a southern pecan pie from Houston, and my partner had been waiting for an excuse to cook a favorite apple cake recipe and had already called dessert duty. This savory sweet potato galette recipe let me sneak an extra pie onto the Thanksgiving table without making too many desserts.