about bliss

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

twd: rewind: pecan sticky buns

Last week I had an ambitious thought: make a pan of homemade sweet rolls, likely the cinnamon variety, for Christmas morning breakfast. For many years, my dad created a mock cinnamon roll, using a recipe he learned in boy scouts, which involved dropping bits of butter and a shower of brown sugar into a cake pan, and topping it with a package of canned biscuits--the kind that pop! out of the package when you start unrolling it--and baking them to golden perfection. Since we've stopped making these, there's limited sweetness on our holiday table, and I was determined to rectify such a sad situation.

We always have a banket wreath from the local Dutch bakery; banket is a flaky pastry filled with sweet almond paste. This year Gregg and I made homemade banket to taste test alongside the bakery version; while we liked out pastry better (Gregg was in charge of that step), the bakery filling topped ours in taste and texture.

As I graded student exams on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it became clear that time was limited and my cinnamon roll dreams would not come to pass.

My apologies to the non-banket eaters (Mom and L), who feasted on cheese, bread, fruit, coffee, and mimosas alone.

As I settled back into home after a whirlwind trip to Michigan for the holiday weekend, I remembered that this week's TWD selection was a rewind. I paged through Baking: From My Home to Yours and soon was smitten with a photo of lush cinnamon, glossy pecans, and viscous caramel.

A week too late.

I made them anyway.

And, starting homemade brioche on Tuesday morning for a Tuesday blog post?

A day too late.

I beg forgiveness from all involved.

And I raise a petite, perfect roll in your honor.

Sweet and spicy and crunchy and soft and utterly delicious.

I have half a recipe of brioche dough tucked into the freezer, and promise to share next time.

Happy belated holidays, and happy belated TWD blogging.

Monday, December 27, 2010

happy holidays

Traditions: holiday hijinks. banket wreaths from the local dutch bakery. waking my brother up on christmas morning. christmas eve cocktails, family gathering, and late night pizza. christmas morning european style breakfast with mimosas and fromage de noel (gratte paille from france via zingermans). bubbly with mom and aunt s. and grandma on christmas afternoon.

Change: integrating gregg into our traditions. christmas evening at home, cooking a gourmet meal and playing raucous uno. pre-christmas gathering with gregg's family.

Joy: laughter of dear friends and family. waking up next to gregg on christmas morning. sharing a long weekend with my family. roadtripping with gregg. a giant bottle of rombauer zinfandel.

Sadness: realizing Grandpa V's health is declining.

Christmas 2010: smiles and tears. new and old. wishing, as always, for ever more time.

Determined—afresh, anew—to live fully in 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

holiday haiku: pack

gather stack pile wrap
sort select bag box arrange
haul load secure: go

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

holiday haiku: solstice

saluting the sun
fading behind snowfull clouds
shortest day this year

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

holiday haiku: wrapping

scissors slice paper,
corkscrew metallic ribbon
trim ragged edges

Friday, December 17, 2010

holiday haiku: provisions

wandering the store—
flour sugar eggs chocolate—
this baking blitz eve

Thursday, December 16, 2010

holiday haiku: twinkle

tiny white lights shine
nestled between pert branches
twinkle through the night

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

holiday haiku: crunch

boots crunch on packed snow
walking under snow flocked trees
moon rising, sun sets

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

twd: apple coconut family cake

Oh, my baking friends, how I've missed you! I can imagine the warmth of your kitchens, the happy smells of vanilla and sugar, and the delicious cookies and cakes and pies you've made without me.

This week, I'm finally done with classes, and in the liminal stage before final exams start pouring in, which means more time in the kitchen to play, and more time on the computer to write.

As I write this post, the apple coconut family cake is baking, perfuming our home with a slightly boozy (bourbon), tad spicy (cinnamon), and altogether autumnal (apples and pears) scent. I'll skip the glaze, and perhaps dust the cake with powdered sugar in the morning, before taking it to work for one of our coffee hours.

I made a few minor adjustments to Dorie's recipe; I used one apple and one huge pear, since the rest of my apples are in cold storage (a cooler in the garage) and it's too cold (7 degrees) to venture out for two apples. I used bourbon instead of rum since that's what I had handy, and, as I mentioned above, don't have jelly for a glaze.

Still, my colleagues should be pleased with this hearty, rustic cake, and I know I will be too.

Thanks to Amber of Cobbler du Monde for selecting this simple and pleasing recipe. Please check out her blog for the recipe.

holiday haiku: last

last day of class blues
community dissolving
a thing of the past

Monday, December 13, 2010

holiday haiku: grading

stacks of bright folders
stuffed with white scrawling pages
waiting for comments

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

holiday haiku: blizzard

snowflake flocked windows
flurries swirl blow drift gather
endless blank white page.

Friday, December 10, 2010

holiday haiku: lights

houses trimmed with lights:
dangling white icicles
or multi-colors?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

holiday haiku: snow

cue the swirling flakes
twirling between light displays
nestling in lawn décor

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

holiday haiku: tunes

holiday cd:
songs selected, mixed, arranged
with friendship and love

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

holiday haiku: wrapped

swathed in fleece blankets
undulating pashmina
and boiled wool slippers

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

holiday haiku: shopping

wandering bookstores
target foodie stores galore
visualize delight

Friday, December 03, 2010

holiday haiku: tree

tinsel draped branches
threaded with tiny white lights
support memories

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010