As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs. My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.
I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.
If you’re looking for a relatively easy homemade buttermilk biscuit recipe, 17-39: Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits isn’t a bad choice. I made these once before for a dinner I made about 8 years ago. I remember thinking they were very bland as written–hence my notes written on the front and back about adding more salt. After following my own suggestions this time around, they’re much improved.
I didn’t make these for any particular dinner or reason this time around, but they still made decent snacks and accompaniments to meals throughout the week.
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.
A recent Sunday brunch called for a special treat: 17-65: Giant Caramel Rolls. Similar to “sticky buns“, these rolls have been taunting me for a while. I decided to make a batch and drop them off for brunch–that way most of them gets eaten by everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong–there’s still two in my freezer as I type this. But that’s better than ALL of them. Plus, there wasn’t room for all of them–I still had 16-14: Orange-Almond Cake in there, too. The rest of these ended up in my mom’s freezer instead.
Making biscuits is quick and easy, especially when following this recipe for 17-50: Cornmeal-Jalapeño Biscuits from Simply Delicious. One of my favorite rainy-day activities, I enjoy baking because the warm oven heats up the house nicely. The only feeling that can beat it is sitting by the fireplace.🔥 A recipe like this could be cooked similar to a cornbread in a cast iron skillet placed near a fireplace hearth. That would be really old school, but I prefer using this biscuit method because each biscuit is baked with its own crunchy, delicious crust.
This recipe is so versatile. You can make the biscuits small for appetizer-sized portions or you can make dinner sized biscuits as a side dish.
The second of two appetizer dishes I made for Thanksgiving this year (TGV 2016), 1-5: Pigs in a Blanket aren’t a surprise to many who grew up with these being served at various parties & gatherings. I’ve been looking for an event like this to make this recipe for, and I finally found it–it doesn’t get more traditional American than Thanksgiving.
This was the sixth of seven dishes I cooked for this year’s feast, and I made these the day of Thanksgiving (Thursday 11/24) while I waited for the whole wheat kernels I needed for 17-5: Hot Seedy Rolls to finish soaking. I waited until the day of to make these because they really taste best as fresh as you can make them.
Since this is technically being posted after Thanksgiving, these work well for Christmas, parties, or really even just a Saturday night Netflix marathon. The stains and wrinkling of the card (I scanned these over two years ago at this point) tell me someone else may have whipped up some of these sometime in the past, although no other clues exist pointing to whom or when. The tagline at the bottom is right though–most everyone can get on board with these “pigs”.
Here’s yet another boneless/skinless chicken breast recipe born of the health-conscious 1980s. We ate a LOT of chicken breast when I was growing up, so I’m surprised my mom never busted 6-43: Cheesy Chicken Cutlets out for yet another version.
I’m sorry, but it’s ALWAYS seemed just a bit morbid to dip chicken in egg. I realize it’s often a big part of one of my favorite things (fried chicken), but it still always nags. I’ll leave it there–you do the math if you want to. 🐣
I realize it’s now June, but here’s a recipe I made for Mother’s Day this year, at the request of my very own mother. What can I say…it takes a while to actually sit down and write these things sometimes. We were doing brunch at their house this year, and she wanted us to bring cinnamon rolls, so I solved two problems at once by making 17-4: Cinnamon Rolls.
This particular recipe doesn’t include an icing/glaze with it, but if you want one (as I knew my mom would), I used this recipe from food.com and it works just fine. Let’s be honest–the ones in their picture are probably NOT what you pictured when you thought of cinnamon rolls. Whether you’re thinking of their picture or mine, this recipe (with a few tweaks) will probably suit your needs.
Here’s one I’ve made a couple of times before. 17-38: Olive Bread is a nice, easy bread to make, especially if you don’t have a ton of experience with the process. I think sometimes yeast doughs can be intimidating to beginners, but this one hasn’t failed me yet–even when I was still just beginning to make bread. If you’re looking for a more “plain” type easy bread, check out 17-6: Best Ever White Bread. However, if you like those olive batard breads from the bakery section of the market, you’ll love this one.
I’ve made this twice before, once in its intended form (but with more olives because I LOVE olives) and again soon after, but in a smaller bun-size with chipotle peppers & garlic instead of olives. I used them for slider buns for burgers intended for a New Years’ party, judging from the date on the card. What will I change about this recipe this time?