17-14: Nutty Muffins

17-14: Nutty Muffins

Here’s one of the last few recipes left from the chapter on baked goods, Group 17: Baked Goods. I made 17-14: Nutty Muffins for work–I thought they’d make a nice accompaniment to everyone’s morning coffee. ☕️

17-14 Nutty Muffins

See? Even Simply Delicious shows them being served with coffee. Wikipedia offers a deeper dive on the history of muffins if you’re interested/bored. There’s a difference between these types of muffins (referred to as “quickbread” muffins or “American” muffins due to the fact that they’re very similar to a cupcake or other types of sweet, dense, cake-like bread) and the traditional “English” muffins that you get with Eggs Benedict or an Egg McMuffin.

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15-30: Champagne Sundaes

15-30: Champagne Sundaes

The final dish of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017) was the second half of my dessert options (in addition to 17-23: Mocha Éclairs): 15-30: Champagne Sundaes. My mom loves mimosas (which we had in abundance already), and since we already had fruit from 15-19: Layered Fruit Salad, I decided this would be an easy dish to make as well. Plus, it’s nice to have something light to finish with–it balances out the other rich dishes I made for this meal.

I decided to update this recipe concept for the 2010s: I served them in mason jar glasses instead of stemmed glasses. This could totally be a dish at current-day hipster bottomless-mimosa brunches everywhere.

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20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces

20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces

Consider 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces to be the advanced version of 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces. There’s probably something that bridges the two better (whatever 20-14 is, but I don’t have that card in my collection), so 5-4: Eggs Benedict will have to do. This set of recipes is part of the Cooking School, the back section of Simply Delicious that provides instructions in basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes that any skilled cook should be familiar with.

Like I said in 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces, Hollandaise and its variations comprise one  of the five mother sauces, a big part of French cuisine. Mastering it (and the others) is one of the marks of an accomplished and talented chef. I’ve always appreciated a well-made butter sauce, and these variations are intriguing–I’d be interested in eventually trying each one out.

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5-4: Eggs Benedict

5-4: Eggs Benedict

I believe in a couple of things–nobody’s perfect, and all things eventually balance out. My experience with this recipe, 5-4: Eggs Benedict, especially relative to how the rest of the meal went, encapsulates both of those ideas. In the days leading up to making this Mother’s Day brunch (MD2017), I knew I needed to practice two things before the big day: poaching eggs and hollandaise sauce–I’ve had trouble with both in the past. Guess what I didn’t do?

I procrastinated on practicing both my egg poaching and my hollandaise, and those were my failure points on this recipe. After the jump, you can read about what went really well (my homemade English muffins) and what didn’t (my broken hollandaise sauce, for one).

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20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces

20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces

It took over 3 years and almost 300 entries, but I’ve finally cracked the final untouched category of Simply Delicious–the very last one, Group 20: Basic Recipes. These are part of the Cooking School segment in the back of the book, teaching you basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes that you’ll need to be an experienced cook. This recipe, 20-13: Béarnaise and Hollandaise Sauces covers the basics of butter sauces, which you can expand upon with 20-15: Vary the Butter Sauces.

Hollandaise is one of the five mother sauces, a big part of French cuisine. Mastering it (and the others) is one of the marks of an accomplished and talented chef. I’ve been cooking for a long time and I’m still working on mastering this one.

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17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries

17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries

Strap in ladies and gents, this one’s a long one. As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I thought I’d raise the bar and attempt some of the harder ones in the book–nothing impresses your mother like showing her you can cook (and bake). My mom LOVES pastries, so I made her 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries to nosh on while I worked on trying to serve up 5-4: Eggs Benedict. Luckily, these turned out better than my hollandaise sauce attempt did.

Obviously, mine look a bit different than what’s pictured on their card–we’ll get into all the decisions and pitfalls that led to that being the case after the jump.

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15-19: Layered Fruit Salad

15-19: Layered Fruit Salad

It’s a few weeks after Mother’s Day at this point, but better late than never. This year for Mother’s Day, I took a few Simply Delicious recipes and decided to make a brunch menu out of them for my mom. We usually do lox and bagels at home for our holiday brunch celebrations, but this year I wanted the full Mother’s Day buffet experience–but still at home. It’s not brunch without fruit salad, so the first entry for this grand event (MD2017) is 15-19: Layered Fruit Salad.

But wait a minute, you say! This is from the Cold Desserts category? How can it be for brunch?

It’s fancy fruit salad–I think it’ll be okay either as a dessert or a brunch side dish. Plus, I need to burn off some of these dessert recipes–so many of them require fresh fruit and summer is the best time for that.

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5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes

Finally, one from the “revisited” pile–those are recipes I’ve already made before, but am making again for the sake of this project5-20: Golden Cheese Tartlettes were one of the appetizers I made for a Valentine’s Day 80’s party I talked about in 1-22: Onion-Potato Diamonds–I thought these little cheese tarts seemed very 1980s.

They’re not kidding about the “fragile” part when it comes to these tartlettes–I originally made these for this project back in July of 2016, but the whole operation went so poorly that I abandoned it and never even posted about it. Now that I’ve bought the proper equipment and ingredients for it, it went much smoother.

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17-11: Scones

17-11: Scones

Scones have a lot of different methods of preparation, usually depending on varying geographical interpretations. There’s even different pronunciations of the word “scone”–some rhyme it with “tone”, while others rhyme it with “gone.”

Simply Delicious‘ take, 17-11: Scones, seems to most closely adhere to the British version of scones in that they make theirs into round cakes, score them, and then break them apart into triangle shapes after baking. The North American versions tend to be individually-sized, round, and more often than not closely resemble what we refer to as biscuits.

One of my first memorable experiences with scones were at an 18th birthday tea party I attended in the last few months of senior year of high school–we had just come back from a Spring Break trip to England & Ireland, and I came to the tea party prepared with white gloves and pinkies up. They had scones with clotted cream & jam, finger sandwiches, and lots of flowery, delicate pots of tea. ☕️

Wouldn’t have been my choice for an 18th birthday party (I spent a good portion of mine in my dorm room hungover from a wild freshman-year-of-college Halloween extravaganza the night before), but it was definitely unique.

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16-39: Apricot Tart

16-39: Apricot Tart

I had mentioned in 16-24: French Chocolate Cake that it was one of two desserts that I made for a recent baby shower I attended: 16-39: Apricot Tart was the second dessert. I’ve been meaning to make this thing since near the start of this project, and it only took me a few years to finally get around to it. There’s something about this recipe and procrastination, though–this entry’s been sitting in my writing queue half-finished for over a month.

For the length of time that it took me to make it (and to write about it), I never even got to try it–I ended up leaving this and 16-24: French Chocolate Cake still wrapped up on the table at the party. We’ll just assume that both of them were delicious and everyone ate every last crumb of them.

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