NOTE: This is an updated version of an old recipe on the blog. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the new recipe!
‘Tis the season for friends and family. ‘Tis the season for turkey and stuffing. ‘Tis the season to give thanks. I’m giving thanks, in particular, for carbs and brown butter.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. While every year for the past decade or so it has looked a little different in terms of company and location — sometimes it’s been with my family at my parents’ house; a few times, it was with our entire families, both sides, in our tiny 800-square-foot apartment in Iowa; a time or two, we had it at my husband’s parents’ place; and this year for the first time ever, we are having Thanksgiving at our home, just the three of us — the food remains a constant, and I love that about it.
There is always the turkey, obviously. There is always a can-shaped tower of cranberry sauce. There is always green bean casserole. And there are always rolls.
They’re not always these brown butter sweet potato buttermilk rolls, however, though I think they should be. And since I get to create my own traditions with our wee family unit this year, these rolls are becoming our permanent Thanksgiving fixture.
I remembering thinking to myself the other week, “Wow, none of us really get sick all that often. That’s kind of nice.” And then, suddenly, it was a whirlwind of illness. First my mom, then me, then my husband, then my dad, then my brother (and probably a few more people who came in contact with any of us and inadvertently caught the nasty bug, and to whom I sincerely apologize).
Thankfully my daughter was spared, and I thought to myself, “Wow, thank goodness Avery was spared from this horrible virus. That’s kind of nice.”
And she continued to be so. But then last week, she caught something else — teething. Or a really horrible cold. It’s impossible to know the culprit sometimes, but in either case, we’ve had a very sad and sick little one around the house the past few days.
I tried to take her for a walk — maybe some fresh air would do her good. It didn’t. I tried to take her to Target to look at something other than the walls inside our house (and maybe to get Mom a drink from Starbucks, who can say). She fussed. I tried to cuddle her and give her sips of water and milk from time to time. She resisted.
And so, I have resorted to giving it time. Time will heal her. And while we wait, we bake.
I consider myself to be a pretty healthy person: That is to say, I don’t have a chronic illness, I haven’t been seriously sick (as in, best buds with my bed for a few days) in a long time and I haven’t been hospitalized since I was a youth getting my tonsils taken out. I count my blessings for this every day — especially because I’m a total wimp when I have even the slightest cold.
My mom, on the other hand? She’s had all three things happen to her in the last month.
You see, my sweet mama, she has had a rough go of it on the medical side of things for the last decade or so. She’s had countless diagnoses of strange diseases, all manner of tests, several surgeries and yada yada yada — I could go on and on. It can take a serious toll on a family, emotionally and otherwise.
But my mom, she’s a fighter. I mean in some ways, yes, she’s exhausted — she’s pretty darn sick and tired of seeing the walls of a hospital — but she still has so much heart and fight in her. I’m constantly amazed by her dedication to being well again, to not give up, to keep going. I think a lot of it has to do with her stubborn personality (don’t even deny it, Mom) but I also think part of it comes from all the encouragement, love and support she receives from family and friends. And I think being so blessed to not have to struggle to pay medical expenses helps, too.
So when I read on my friend Steph’s blog about a little boy named Noah whose family discovered that his diagnosis of severe autism will unexpectedly cost them more than $1,000 immediately, and up to $30,000 a year for therapy, I knew this family needed two things: Financial support, and extreme love and encouragement from as many people as possible. You can read their full story here.
I’ve got serious Jazz Hands-itis today, you guys! Because today, I’ve written a guest post for one of my all-time favorite blogs in all the land, A Cup of Jo. I am so honored and thrilled to be sharing a recipe on Joanna’s site for what I consider to be the best Dutch baby pancake I’ve ever had — especially so she can spend extra time with her newly expanded family.
If you’ve never had a Dutch baby pancake before, here’s the basic rundown: It’s a puffy and light pancake that you bake in the oven in a cast-iron skillet. Then, because I can’t leave well enough alone, I suggest you top it with something fruity and delicious, like fresh pears roasted with vanilla beans. Oh, and the browned butter addition also is the business. I don’t even suggest that — it’s required. And just like that, you’ve got a browned butter Dutch baby with roasted vanilla pears. Cue the jazz hands.
So now that I’ve hopefully got your tumbly all a-rumbly for this breakfast treat, head over to A Cup of Jo for the full post and recipe.
For those days when we can’t give our best. For those days when we’d rather wear the sweatpants and sweatshirt instead of the skirt and heels. For those days when eight hours of “Downton Abbey” sounds so much better than eight hours of being social. For those days when making a sandwich is about all the exercise we can do for the day. For those days when we’d rather curl up on the couch and rest easy, and let tomorrow be the day when we go get ’em again.
These muffins are for those days (and, really, any other day you want to eat something delicious).
There are umpteen reasons why I love living in Minnesota (and one reason I don’t: winter. But let’s not talk about it).
I love the friendly people. I love the accessibility of the cities. I love the trails, the parks, the lakes, the local shops, the creativity that comes out of this state. I love the food, the farmers markets, the commitment people here have to community and sustainability. I love all of the other seasons here except the aforementioned one.
I also love the tomatoes. Especially when they are placed on open faced caprese sandwiches with brown butter and burrata.
This week marks five whole years since I first pressed “publish” on a post on Girl Versus Dough. INSANE.
In some ways, that feels like forever and ever ago; in others, it feels like yesterday (cliche, I know, but the truth). Never in the wildest of my wildest dreams did I think, when I first pressed “publish” then, that now I’d be sitting here, doing what I love full time — that is to say, making things like mini brown butter funfetti cupcakes and chatting you up about them (because OMG, we have to talk about these). Is this real life? I still pinch myself sometimes to make sure.
So as a thank you-slash-celebration, I’m going to be giving away a couple of fun little things this week! But first, about these cupcakes.
NOTE: See this post for an UPDATED version of this recipe!
I know what you’re thinking.
This is a Thanksgiving food. I know. I know. And it’s not even Halloween yet.
Here’s the thing — I get really excited about holidays. And I get even more excited about holiday food. It’s a strange compulsion, one I’m trying to work out with my imaginary therapist, but the fact remains that the minute the leaves fall from the trees, many of my thoughts surround what is going on the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can literally taste the cranberry sauce that comes out of the can — still looking like the can — on my tongue (I love that stuff. Seriously. Don’t judge.), and I can smell turkey baking as I walk through the crunchy leaves on the sidewalk. Maybe that’s just me continuing to lose my mind, I don’t know, but if I’m going to lose it by smelling and tasting holiday foods, that’s fine by me.
It’s finally the Christmas season and while I’m feeling all sorts of merry and joyful, I’m also feeling immense guilt over all the Pinterest crafts I planned to do this year and never did.
Oh, this is nothing new. Every year, I declare that “this! This will be the year I make that homemade advent calendar! That I decorate my tree in homemade origami ornaments! That I crochet infinity scarves for all my friends and relatives! That I make a homemade wreath that won’t fall apart in two days!”
And then I get bogged down with Christmas shopping and to-do lists and baking brown butter apple cheddar pie crescent rolls and none of the crafts ever happen. Though I have to say that in the case of pie-stuffed crescent rolls, I’ll take them over crafts any day.
I can’t explain it, but something about my life feels different lately. It’s not because of my New Year’s goals (because we all know how that went down) — no, it’s something you can’t really pinpoint. It’s like that feeling you get when you finally break in your new boots. Or when the wine pairs perfectly with dinner. Or when you try browned and buttered cashews on top of sweet potato soup for the very first time and you realize, yes — this is exactly what I needed.
Whatever it is, I’m going with it. And I’m taking the buttered cashews with me.
Good news, friends! It is impossible to eat too much chocolate and peanut butter. I know this because I’ve eaten obscene amounts of it in my day and I’m still here to tell you about this chocolate peanut butter pretzel tart — which is basically a giant, no-bake peanut butter cup with a pretzel/graham cracker/secret ingredient (oooooh, suspense!) crust.
This tart was inspired by two things: One, my aforementioned obsession with chocolate and peanut butter, and two, a very similar tart I had at a local place called Cafe Latte. If you’ve ever been, you know they are well-known for their desserts (including that tres leches cake that I inhale every time I order it). And if you’ve never been there, well, just know that they make some amazingly delicious desserts. The last time I was there, I ordered a peanut butter tart and I kid you not when I say that was months ago and I’ve thought about it nearly every day since, it was so good.
And so, last week I decided enough was enough. I needed that tart in my life again and I could not wait one more day. And in just a few hours, it was so. Except I amped up the crust a bit to make it all salty/savory/SECRET INGREDIENT-y because… well, is there any reason to justify this? I think not.
If there is anything the Irish know best — well, besides a well-brewed pint of beer and how to make cabbage actually taste good — it’s their bread.
I say this not even being a huge fan of soda bread. It’s just too dry and boring for me, and I’ll always associate it with that one time in fourth grade that I tried to make it for a school project (about… the Irish? I don’t even know) and it baked like a solid rock (and tasted like I’d imagine one would, too). I won’t even talk about that other time in eighth grade when I tried making kimchi. Oy.
Now I know (I hope) my skills in the ways of bread baking have come a long way since my preteen days, but it’s just one of those memories I can’t shake. So when I decided to give Irish brown bread a try, I did so with much trepidation.
How was your weekend? Ours was pretty great. We bought pumpkins and drank pumpkin beer and ate pumpkin mac and cheese and I almost bought a pumpkin Halloween costume for Avery (but I didn’t, because my deep-down Pinterest-driven-yet-not-so-crafty personality wants to DIY this situation so she will probably end up being a baby for Halloween).
And to answer your obvious question, no I am not yet sick of the pumpkin. Or of the apples, or the pears or the quinces.
Have you ever tried a quince? They’re admittedly not the most beautiful or convenient of fruits, but when they are baked — or in this case, slow cooked with brown sugar and vanilla bean and pears to a sweet, caramelized fruit butter perfection — they are quite tasty. And by quite tasty, I mean erase the “quite tasty” and replace it with “YUMMMMMMMMMMMMM.”
Oh heyyyy, friends. Sorry about my lengthier-than-normal absence from this space. I was too busy being a maid of honor (OK, OK… matron. But I feel like a youthful maid at heart) for my best friend’s wedding this weekend in Chicago. It was such a whirlwind of fun and fanciness that I completely forgot to post here over the end of the week/weekend.
So I brought two things to you today to apologize: 1) Buttermilk ranch biscuits and 2) a summer sale of my eCookbook, wah to the hoo!
First, about this sale. It’s for 40% off my eCookbook, “Quick Bread Love.” All you have to do to get this sweet mother of a deal is enter SUMMER40 at checkout and bing-bang-boom, you get the deal. Don’t forget to take a real good look at all the packages, as there are so many extra goodies going on in there.
And second, let’s converse about these biscuits. Because tangy buttermilk + creamy ranch + buttery biscuits = so many things worthy of a conversation.
So, after a series of days of movie-watching, article-reading and conversing with the husband, we decided it is in our best ethical interest to go what he says is called “flexitarian.” The term, if you are too lazy to look it up, refers to people who live on a mostly-vegetarian diet but will occasionally consume meat. For us, this means we will no longer eat meat or buy egg/milk products unless they are grass-fed or cage-free. It’s been tough for someone like me who loves her meat and has always had it readily available at the family table, but it’s important to me to start eating food that coincides with my morals.
Which is why I am so happy that my morals recently coaxed me into making this recipe, which (though the name refers to an animal) is friendly to both the environment and to my empty tummy.
I first read about monkey bread from another bread blog I highly regard, and when mine eyes laid upon it they widened in awe that this! — This satiating creation! This caramel-coated wonder! — was bread, indeed! I knew right then it had to be made, in my kitchen. I didn’t use that exact recipe but found another on the Food Network Web site, an overnight recipe courtesy of Mr. Alton Brown.
At first, the idea of mixing rosemary with butter, brown sugar and raisins sounded a little funky, but after stirring all of said ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, the aroma was so deliciously sweet and savory that I thanked the rosemary for sticking through the fight despite my initial cynicism.
This recipe does require a bit of patience (as in, waiting overnight to eat it), but let me tell you, it is so much better than rolling pieces of store-bought biscuit dough together. May your own morals coax you soon.
Debrief: Not too much to change. Maybe I’ll try a different recipe for monkey bread altogether? I know The Bread Bible has its own with pecans. And yet, that rosemary…
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
8 ounces unsalted butter, approximately 16 tablespoons
8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
3 ounces raisins, approximately 3/4 cup
For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough and add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the 8 ounces of unsalted butter, brown sugar, rosemary, and raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour half of the topping into the bottom of 2 bundt pans and set aside. Cover and store the other half of the topping in the refrigerator until the next morning.
Place the melted butter and rosemary for the coating in a medium shallow bowl and stir to combine. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Portion the dough into 1-ounce pieces; roll each piece into a ball. (You should have approximately 36 balls.) Roll the balls in the melted butter and rosemary.
Divide the balls evenly between the 2 bundt pans. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
Remove the bread from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the bread. Close the oven and let the bread rise until slightly puffy looking, 20 to 30 minutes. Once the bread has risen, remove it and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Once the oven is ready, place the bread on the middle rack and bake until slightly golden on top, approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Place the remaining topping in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Reheat until the mixture is pourable, approximately 5 minutes. Fifteen minutes into baking, pour the remaining topping over the bread, and finish cooking. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto a platter or cutting board. Serve immediately.
Note: Thank you all SO MUCH for your kind words and enthusiasm about my eCookbook news! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to respond to everyone individually but know that each and every comment means the world to me. If you haven’t joined the Facebook team yet, you still can!
Oof, that title is a mouthful.
And the recipe is, too. A delicious, delicious mouthful.
First things first: Have you ever tried farina? I grew up with the wheat cereal version from the blue and white box with the boy on the front who’s SUPER happy to be eating a bowl of it — which I assume can only be true if he added about a half-cup of sugar and a few dashes of cinnamon on top, as I did. It was the only way that stuff would taste good and not anything remotely like slop.
Maybe it’s because I wasn’t quite aware of its versatility as a youth or I got really, really overloaded on all the sugar (nahhhh, that can’t be it), but I haven’t had a bowl of farina in many moons. That is, until I was introduced to brown rice farina. And everything changed.
I’m taking some time off the next few weeks to spend with my family and our new bundle of joy. In the meantime, I’ve set up a few posts ahead of time to share. This cookie butter banana bread has been a looooong time coming — but was worth the wait. A warning: be prepared to go full-on Cookie Monster on this bread once you get a waft of it.
What is this? Two banana-based recipes in a row?? Surely a food blogger wouldn’t allow this redundancy! Except that one involves pie and the other (hint: this one) involves cookie butter so I think we can all agree: Mmmk, yeah, two banana recipes in a row is A-OK.
This recipe has been a thought bubble (I originally typed “buttle” — what? SLEEP DEPRIVATION YOU SLAY ME) in my head for a really, really, ridiculously long period of time. And I don’t really know why I kept putting it off; though it probably has something to do with the fact that I’m allergic to naners and I knew this bread would be amazeballs and it would be torture of tortures to bake it and smell it and watch my husband eat slice after slice AND then declare it may be the best bread I’ve ever made. Spoiler alert: All of the above happened. Harrumph (I mean, hooray!). At least I could console myself by eating spoonfuls of cookie butter.
In case you haven’t had enough pancakes in your life lately, I’m here with another yummy recipe for ’em.
When the husband and I have no plans for dinner, or we’re just plain lazy, or we need to clean out the fridge, or just because we feel like it — we have brinner. Sometimes we also have cheese and crackers, but that’s a story for another day.
A lot of times, the brinner train looks a lot like an omelet with whatever leftover bits of veggies and cheese we have thrown in. Sometimes, it looks like French toast. And other times, it looks like pancakes — sweet, syrupy, glorious pancakes.