Currently viewing the tag: "pastry"

We entered September with a bang: school for everyone except me, birthday celebrations, anniversary dinner (we ate here, it was incredible), and then we splurged on U2 tickets and saw the Joshua Tree tour (and they did play the Joshua Tree from start to finish and it was amazing) (also the poems they scrolled on giant screens before the show are worth reading) and then saw Maria Bamford the very next night (along with Jackie Kashian who was also hilarious) and then family visiting and then meet-the-teacher night and then scrubbing my house from top to bottom because summer made it embarrassingly dirty. There is still so much packed into the rest of this month I am actually looking forward to October, along with some cool fall breezes and falling leaves, long walks and even longer books.

September started out rather chilly, but this past week we found ourselves in a major heat wave, so naturally I found myself in the kitchen making pies, puff pastry, and Danish dough. I have this odd desire to bake on extremely hot days, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but then again, I have the same desire on icy cold days, so maybe it’s just that I’m obsessed with baking. Whatever the reason, this Danish braid was made, and I’ve declared it my new favorite. The braid itself was inspired by Zoe Francois – she made this beautiful Raspberry braid with Bread in 5’s no-knead dough, and the second I saw it, I knew I had to try one with my Easy Danish Dough. It worked wonderfully, and I have a feeling any guests I have for the next 6 months will be served some variation of this.

I’ve teamed up with Land O’Lakes for a few posts over the rest of the year. I’ve been a big fan of their butter for years; I love how my baked goods turn out with it, and as they are a Minnesota-based company, it seemed like a natural fit. I use their butter in my baking, and find the flavor to be heads and shoulders above other grocery store brands. This Danish braid was made Land O Lakes® European Style Butter, and it turned out *fantastic*. The layers were perfectly flaky and each bite rang out with pure butter flavor.

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peach-apple-cherry pie
‘Have you been online yet?’ my husband asks from the couch. It’s 8:45 am, and I am searching the kitchen for breakfast. Most mornings, upon waking, I reach for my phone next to me on my nightstand, and check all the icons chirping at me like hungry baby birds. Email, facebook, instagram, twitter, usually in that order. I despise the impulse, but I’m too tired to stop my arm from reaching, and its become a daily habit. Summer vacation is upon us, however, and I’ve set new goals for myself. Wear a small gray arm band to record my daily steps. Read books at night before bed instead of falling asleep to the internet. Eat a healthy breakfast, then go ahead and see what the world brings.

So I hadn’t heard the news. ‘No,’ I replied. ‘Something bad?’  He handed me his phone with a stony face, and I knew instantly. Another shooting. I felt the pit in my stomach, the one that has been there since Columbine, that grew into something fierce after Sandy Hook. The one that triggered my anxiety the last day of school, just two days ago, the one that made me whisper as my kids left for the day: ‘Please, please, one more day. Let them come home to me.’
pie

pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

peach-apple-cherry pie

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mixed berry scones
“How can I find the words? Poets have taken them all and left me with nothing to say or do.”
“Except to teach me for the first time what they meant.”
-Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, Dorothy Sayers: A Busman’s Honeymoon

I’m not one for using expletives much in my day-to-day, but I must admit this past Monday a very loud one flew out of my mouth as my twitter notifications lit up my phone. Somehow, I had won the Reader’s Choice portion of the Saveur Food Blog Awards for Baking and Desserts. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m still pinching myself. It’s a huge honor, a dream come true, and I have you to thank. All you wonderful, lovely readers who took the time to cast a vote my way, thank you so much.

I share the category with the amazing Izy from Top With Cinnamon (who won Editor’s Choice), and I am excited that in just over a month I get to meet her, along with so many other favorite bloggers.

But in the meantime, scones! My family went out Monday night to celebrate with dinner, but I just had to bake something, too. Mixed berries, crème fraîche, and lavender seemed like a good combination, and they might be my favorite scones to date. The berries are tart, the lavender subtle, and the crème fraîche smooth and dreamy, rounding everything out. A perfect way to start the day.

Also, a few things:
Michael Jackson. Amazing.

Great writing advice, all in one place.

The Office Stare Machine.

-I can’t wait for Kimberley’s new book! And, Erin’s too!

-I’m now contributing over at Wit + Delight! You can check out my first post, for Strawberry-Basil Smoothies.

-I also have Chocolate Sugar Cookies up on Handmade Charlotte.
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pear + blackberry tartlets | the vanilla bean blog
sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”
-E.E. Cummings
pear + blackberry tartlets | the vanilla bean blog
Spring! Is here! At least, our fingers are crossed it’s staying around for good. You never know in these parts.

A few things:
*If you’re a Flight of the Conchords fan, you may enjoy the new show Short Poppies,(on Netflix) starring Rhys Darby (who played Murray).

*Diala’s Kitchen! So beautiful.

*If you ever wanted to know how to make that Big Mac sauce at home, a chef from McDonalds shows you how (it’s not a joke, by the way. But it should be?).

*Two days left to vote in the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards!

*I’ve been enjoying Kate’s mixes.

*Burundi Beans are here! I’ve written about my lovely friend Kristy from Long Miles Coffee Project here and here, and you can find out about where to buy Burundi beans here. Support their amazing project!

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raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog

Hello! I come to you today with raspberry cacao nib sugar buns and a giveaway, both of which I’m terribly excited about. I’ve been baking up a storm lately;  this extended winter Minneapolis refuses to let go of is making us all stir-crazy, literally. So we’ve been kneading and rolling and folding and repeating too often for this little family of four. But! these tasty raspberry circles were worth our time, and after enjoying a few, we gladly passed them out to our neighbors.

And, speaking of stir-crazy (I know, cheesy), I am happy to be hosting a giveaway for these lovely wooden spoons by Wind and Willow Home! You may have seen Araya’s gorgeous dipped bowls all over Pinterest, as well as bunnies and planters and candle cups. Today she is giving away a set of wooden spoons – 3 lovely hand-dipped spoons to brighten your kitchen and welcome in spring. All you have to do is leave a comment below! [Giveaway open to all, and please leave an email address! I will pick a winner next Friday.]  The winner is Maria! I’ve sent you an email!

raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog
raspberry cacao nib sugar buns | the vanilla bean blog

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beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog
This morning the sun is shinning bright; we bundle up and make our way out to a quiet spot. It is still cold here, but Spring is whispering: her voice in the steady drips from gutters and rooftops. My family walks in single file down a well-worn path of snow; it is barely white but we still hear a faint crunch as our boots tread it. The children talk quietly, pointing out fallen trees and cooing birds. I am walking slowly, last in line. My husband walks before me leaving slushy prints, and I spend a few moments trying to walk in them, feeling such accomplishment when my feet fit just right. My children call to me, worried I am too far behind. It’s okay, I answer back, I’m here. As the words leave me I am flooded with  images: faces of our dear ones who no longer have marks to leave in the snow. I feel a rush of panic white-wash me and find I am standing still, so far behind the others. But just then the wind rushes in, and the wind knows me. It slaps against me, so cold, and I am awake again. I look up as it makes its way to the trees; it pushes itself against them, and they bend towards me, they cover me. It is a moment to breathe, to hide, ground myself. Then it is gone. The sky is peering at me again, the sun is so bright, and I find myself squinting. I look down as my son comes to me, his tiny boots in the snow, his soft blue mitten in my hand. He doesn’t speak, but I hear him. The adventure is this way, and he leads me on.
beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog
beet tartlets with goat cheese and beet greens pesto | the vanilla bean blog

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