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Friday
Jan072011

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Reasons to Love "Killer Pies" by Stephanie Anderson

Hey, sweeties. Remember how I won that Chronicle Books Happy Haul-Idays contest? Well, I'm happy to say I've been receiving my $500 worth of books a little at a time, and have been more overjoyed with each addition to my cookbook collection.

But my current favorite of the batch has to be Killer Pies: Delicious Recipes from North America's Favorite Restaurants by Stephanie Anderson. Published in 2007, this book features pie recipes and lore from all around the US and Canada, and makes for some deliciously fascinating reading. But don't just take my word for it: here's a baker's dozen of my favorite bits from the book: 

  1. Another explanation for the name "Shoofly Pie" from The Famous Dutch Restaurant, Frackville, PA: I had always thought the story behind the pie's name was due to the fact that it was so sweet that the baker had to "shoo" flies away from the rich, gooey filling; however, as I learned from this eatery's entry, which includes a recipe for "Wet-Bottom Shoofly Pie" (I know, take up the name with them), there is another theory, which I also love: "others claim that shoofly is a corruption of the French word for cauliflower ("chou-fleur"), as the crumbly top slightly resembles the vegetable". 
  2. Before I Die, I Must Eat Fudge Pie from Ed & Kay's, Benton, Arkansas: Upon reading the entry about this eatery, I had a sudden and massive urge to take a road trip to AR for a sample of their "cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates" and for the fudge pie, made with a decadent, pecan-chocolate filling, for which there is a recipe in the book, adapted from a customer who shared the recipe with co-owner Kay Diemer.
  3. Top of to-do List, Lynden Dutch Bakery, Lynden, WA: For shame: this place is located in the very state I live, and yet I've never heard of it. "Downtown Lynden, in fact, could be renamed Little Holland. Many of the townspeople speak Dutch...Lynden Dutch Bakery owners Steve and Rise Copeman whip up homemade cookies, wedding cakes, pastries, breads, and pies with that special Dutch touch. Sour cream raisin pie is a favorite." And there's a recipe for it in the book!
  4. There is an actual place called Pie Town in New Mexico: Wait. Hold! The! Phone! There is a place called Pie Town!? Why don't I live there? Oh, and there's a pretty spectacular-sounding recipe from The Daily Pie Cafe, from said town, for New Mexican Apple Pie, which contains green chiles!
  5. Manitoba Maple-Walnut Pie: Doesn't the name just send a shiver of happiness down your spine? This sweet treat is a specialty at Just Desserts Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba (that's Canada, in case you didn't know), which specializes in "sweets that are rich and sinful, as the best ones always are." This one combines maple syrup, brown sugar, chocolate, and walnuts for a treat that is making me want to rush north of the border!
  6. Bob Andy Pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies, Baltimore, MD: I don't know why this pie is called the "Bob Andy", but I do know that as soon as I read the description from owner Rodney Henry (a pie-maker and tattooed rock-star), who called it a "white trash creme brulee", I knew I had to try it. Basically a simple custard pie, here is my attempt!
  7. Poogan's Porch is a Porch I want to visit: Located at 72 Queen Street, Charleston, SC's Poogan's Porch boasts not only a ghost (a former resident of the building, Zoe St. Amand, a spinster schoolteacher) but also a fantastic spin on the classic pecan pie: something beautiful and glorious called the Kalua Pecan Pie. "A kick of coffee flavor to complement the rich nuts" sounds pretty nice to me!
  8. A perfect-pie crust tip from a professional: Nicole Anhalt, pastry chef at aforementionedPoogan's Porch, also offers a valuable tip for perfect pie crust (a tip specific to her unbaked-shell pecan pie, but I believe it could be used for other recipes which call for an unbaked pie shell): Just before you begin to make the filling, place the pie shell in the freezer. when you're finished, pull the shell out of the freezer and add the pecans and filling. The almost-frozen shell will result in a flakier crust."
  9. Saskatoon Pie, the existence of, and a recipe for: Apparently, there is a berry native to Canada called the Saskatoon Berry. While I've never tried this berry, I'm already pretty sure that its best use is in pie form, and the entry for Black Cat Guest Ranch in Hinton, Alberta, includes a wonderful-sounding recipe, which includes saskatoon berries (described as small, purple berries which have a subtle berry-almond flavor), juice, and spices sandwiched between a rich double crust.
  10. Ohio's Oldest Hotel Makes Delicious Pie: Under the entry for The Golden Lamb, noted as being "Ohio's Oldest Hotel", from Lebanon, OH, there is a recipe for "Sister Lizzie's Shaker Sugar Pie", a "staple" pie, so called because it has ingredients likely to be found in any pantry.
  11. Crystal Lake, it's Not Just for Friday the 13th Fans: Apparently there is a reason to go to Crystal Lake, IL, other than the fact that it has the same name as the campgrounds in the Friday the 13th movies. That reason is pie, specifically apple pie, which can be found very deliciously atAround The Clock Restaurant & Bakery.
  12. Grapes, They're Not Just For Wine: You heard me. Grapes are apparently for pie, too. Case in point: the Concord Grape Pie of Arbor Hill Winery of Naples, New York. Boozeless but bountifully buttery and delicious, the book has a recipe for this pie, which is known to locals as "famous Naples grape pie". Fascinated? Me too.
  13. A Shout-out to The Little Pie Company: During and after college, when I lived in NYC and worked at a rubber stamp store, one of my favorite customers (who had us make custom rubber stamps with their logo) was Little Pie Company. And in this book, you can find their decadently delicious recipe for deep-dish, old fashioned apple pie. Awesome!

 You should really buy the book. Do that here.

Friday
Dec312010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Happy New Year! Well, almost. Kick 2010 outta your life with some sweetness:

Happy New Year! Start it out right (and use up that leftover New Year's Eve champagne!) with mimosa brownies.

Also, in case you were curious, here's how various desserts taste when paired with the bubbly stuff.

Another good use for holiday leftovers: GingerNog Tres Leches Cake!

Perfect for New Year's Eve: Champagne Party Cupcakes!

Things I want to eat: the Cinnamon Snail from Bozeman's Sola Cafe (I saw a picture in an airline in-flight magazine)

Get Greek: Vaselopita (Greek New Year's Cake) Recipe!

Biscuits? Wine? Together, so divine! Wine Biscuits from King Arthur Flour.

Because I just visited Amish Country...I am excited about this website full of Amish dessert recipes!

Darling Can You Hear Me? SOS! Baking SOS, that is. 

Chocolate Raspberry Torte: It has a serving of fruit, and it is gluten-free. Health food!

Chocolate dipped cheesecake pops: I'm feeling it.

The Big Chill: surely I'm not the only one who wants to go to Iceland (or at least find an Icelandic bakery!) after reading about all of their delicious sweet specialties.

Remember Christmas? Wasn't that awesome? Revisit those sweet memories with SpyMom's Snowy Snickerdoodles.

Sweet cakes, sweet cause: Enter a cake (or vote for your favorite--for every 20 votes, money will be donated to charity)  for Pink Cake Box's sweet event for charity!

 

Friday
Dec242010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Image: Raptortoe.comHappy Freaking Christmas Eve! Let's get the party started with a batch of sweet links (hint: for those of you who are mathematically inclined, yes, there are more than usual):

 
My favorite Christmas Cookies: Killer Dinosaur Gingerbread Cookies (pictured top)

SnowCats: Alpine Kitty Cupcakes!? Adorable!

Sweet Discovery: Cake Gumshoe Bobby shared a sweet find which is proving intriguing: the pasticciotti, a single-serving custard-filled tart which can be found at Florentine Pastry in Utica, NY.

Red-Hot: Betty Crocker tells us what's trendy this holiday season.

I'd stop the world and melt with you: sweet love for Melt Bakery!

Christmas Pudding Mash-Up: a Pudding Chomeur recipe via TastingTable.

Oh, Fudge: Two sweet and slightly unexpected varieties, including Tahini and Drunken Cranberry. Yum!

Seriously Sweet: Snapshots and recipes from the Serious Eats cookie swap!

Blue Christmas: Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes Recipe.

Seeking Surefire Sweetness? These sugar cookies are King Arthur Flour Guaranteed!

Sweet Obsession: I have a strange obsession with Sioux Falls, SD. Here are the winning holiday cookie recipes from the sweet city!

Coffee-Flavored Corn Cookies? Color me intrigued, Caroline Russock!

Vegan...peanut...butter...fudge? I'm down.

Soapy Cakes? No, not really...just cakes cleverly made using soap MOLDS! Very cool, Brambleberry!

Let it dough, let it dough, let it dough: Christoph Niemann is a genius, and this is probably my favorite Christmas cookie link, thing, recipe, idea, whatever, EVER.

 
Friday
Dec172010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Cool! All right! Let's get in a cheerful holiday mood with a batch of sweet links!


High 5! In Seattle, High 5 Pie opens its first retail location on December 30. YES!

Gelato? Hot Toddy? Why decide? They come together beautifully, here.

Mm, tastes like Santa. Eat Santa's face, in pancake form! (I did this recipe as a coloring book page for Taste of Home, too!)

Breakfast of Champions: new All-Star Peanut Butter blogger Honey & Jam offers up a recipe for peanut butter pop-tarts!

Rock Candy...that actually looks like pebbles! 

Candy Cane Cream Pie? I think, yes.

Gingerbread House Contest! I'm a celebrity judge. Enter here!

Holiday Cookie Hell: For your holiday amusement.

Butter makes it better: Buy yourself (and your friends) a butter loaf.

Nothing to biscoff at: if you like the biscoff cookies served on some flights, here's a copycat recipe.

Lemon Aid: Lemon bars get a sweet (gluten-free) makeover on Gluten-Free Girl.

Family Circle's Editors dish on their six favorite Christmas cookie recipes: score!

Sweet Memories: Gingerbread Mad Men on Serious Eats!

Friday
Dec102010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Oh, happy day! It's Friday, and you know what that means: a batch of totally sweet links before I head down to Crafty Wonderland this weekend!

Brussels Sprouts Cupcakes that look better than the ones I made!

So Fresh and So Sweet, Sweet: Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie, by Baking Bites!

Not that you could have possibly missed it, but on the extremely unlikely chance that you did, read the story about me by Rebekah Denn in the Seattle Times. Now, please.

Something from last year that still makes me squeal by virtue of its adorableness: mini gingerbread houses to perch on your mug, by Not Martha.

Push, don't shove: Cupcake push pops by Meringue Bake Shop!

Sweet selections: What do food bloggers look forward to eating around the holidays? Find out here.

Feel free to buy this for me: Laduree: The Sweet Recipes (thanks to Matt Lewis of BAKED for introducing me to it!)

Butterscotch Eggnog? I think I love you, Melissa Clark.

Pop Culture-inspired desserts: Sweet treats inspired by TV characters.

Cin-sational: A Cincinnati food critic's thoughts on the cake ball trend, plus pie on a stick.

Sweet new discovery: Marika's Velvet Bakery, a new custom-order bakery in the Seattle area!

Sweets for the Sweet: Check out the Baker's Gift Guide I did for Serious Eats!

Sweet memories: remember these Red and Green holiday cookies?

Saturday
Dec042010

My Heart Was Stollen: A Sweet Poem by ChefShop

ChefShop.com deserves some serious points, because they have put out an email blast so amazing that I simply have to share it in its entirety. Because an email newsletter is never annoying when it comes with a poem dedicated to the stollen they are selling.

Let It Snow! A poem by ChefShop.com

Oh the weather outside is frightful, 
But the stollen is so delightful, 
And since we've no place to go, 
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn't show signs of stopping, 
And I've bought some powder for topping, 
The lights are turned way down low, 
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 

When we finally take our first bite, 
How I'll hate going out in the storm! 
But if you'll really toast me right, 
All the way home I'll be warm. 

The fire is slowly dying, 
And, my dear, there's still good-buying, 
As long as UPS goes, 
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! 

Of course, you can buy the stollen extolled in this sweet poem on chefshop.com.

Friday
Dec032010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

 Holiday sweetness? Bring it on. Some assorted non-holiday sweetness, too. Happy friday links, sweet friends!

Snowballs? Russian Teacakes? Mexican Wedding Cakes? No matter what you want to call them, they are delicious.

Home Sweet Home: Custom gingerbread houses by Rebecca Russell.

Candy Cane Lane: a classic Christmas cookie recipe to get you started on your seasonal baking.

Sweet nostalgia: 20 discontinued snacks to recall fondly.

Sweet flick: a film about Paris and pastry and architecture. Parfait!

Sweet n Tart: Cheeky embossed biscuits by UK-based Bee's Bakery.

Things I am obsessed with: Vanilla Sugar by Rodelle.  Sprinkle it on a buttered scone for extra sweet decadence.

Sweet holiday shopping: DIY DVDs and more sweet stuff for the baker in your life on the Cupcake Envy site!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake. Looks like heaven!

Alcoholic...whipped...cream? Yup, it exists.

Like, OMG: Peppermint Meringue Cake with Chocolate Buttercream. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Chow answers the important questions, like where to obtain an entire tres leches cake in NYC.

Looking for a sweet cookbook? Check out the list of CakeSpy's favorite cookbooks of 2010.

Saturday
Nov272010

Baker's Dozen: CakeSpy's Favorite Cookbooks of 2010

New York Times Bestseller list? Pshaw. Here's the real deal, a baker's dozen of CakeSpy's favorite pieces of sweet publishing of the year. Fact: most, but not all of these books were released in 2010, but they are the ones that I turned to most throughout the year, and the ones that I would suggest most highly to anyone who cares and / or asks. Listed alphabetically. True: I received some of them as review samples (thanks, various publishers!). But were I to misplace or damage any of these beauties, I'd totally buy 'em again.

  1. Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. What and why: this a collection of classic desserts from all around the nation, but refined with the signature twist that I've come to expect from their wonderful Brooklyn bakery, Baked. From salt-and-pepper sandwich cookies to two versions of Mississippi Mud pie, this book is a keeper. It does not hurt that the bakers are two extremely adorable gentleman, to boot.
  2. Betty Crocker's Cooky Book 1963 (1st Edition). What and why: If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that I have what verges on a mild obsession with this book. It's classic, it's campy, and it's a pleasure to read, look at, and bake from. If possible seek out the first edition version--if it comes with smudges or stained pages from years of use, all the better.
  3. Betty Crocker's Pie & Pastry Cookbook. What and why: A natural progression from the Cooky Book, this Pie and Pastry cookbook is filled with retro recipes as well as classics, and comes with some great recipes for baking up "old is new again" types of recipes.
  4. Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful, edited by Barbara Fairchild. What and why: Bon Appetit is consistently a favorite source of mine for delicious dessert recipes and what amounts to pastry porn in terms of pictures, and so naturally I was attracted to this book. It's huge, it's beautiful, and it's full of great recipes. What's not to love?
  5. Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats by Bakerella. What and why: Easily the cutest new release in 2010, this book is extremely thorough in teaching you how to craft cake pops that look so adorable that you might take pause before taking a big bite. But trust me, you'll power through it, because the decadent treats are delicious, too. I know, because I've gotten to eat ones made by Bakerella herself!
  6. The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009. What and why: A comprehensive year-by-year review of the best cookies from the magazine's archives, this book reads like a piece of cookie anthropology, and has really stunning, almost textile-inspired photos of the cookies which make turning pages a pleasure.
  7. Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. What and why: After I received this book to bake from for an upcoming event, I became an instant devotee. It includes a great variety of cookie styles, written by a lady who is obviously a chocolate and baking expert, but at no point do the recipes or writing seem too intricate or fussy to follow along. This book makes me feel like a baking expert by proxy.
  8. The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook (Commemorative Edition). What and why: Like, whoa. When I received this cookbook, I knew it meant business. It's a binder-style cookbook, and it's incredibly comprehensive (as one would hope the official cookbook from a flour company would be). Some cookbooks are for looking at; this is not one of them, but it is one that will definitely be used. Get a preview of their recipes here.
  9. The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century edited by Amanda Hesser. What and why: Here's another comprehensive cookbook, which includes fascinating stories along with each recipe. It's a big one too, so when people see it in your kitchen they'll know you're like, really serious. Interesting recipe from it: Semolina Shortbread.
  10. Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops by Dorie Greenspan. What and why: No, it's not Dorie's most recent release, but it was the one I looked to most this year. I took it to Paris as a more valuable guide than any travel book, and have baked from it extensively. It comes with stories just as charming as the treats.
  11. Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz. What and why: a stunning collection of dessert recipes from pastry rock star David Lebovitz. This collection includes cookies, cakes, pies, and various confections/sauces/etc, and every single thing I've tried has been incredibly delicious. And as a bonus, Lebovitz's writing is incredibly witty--his cleverness puts him on par as an Oscar Wilde of pastry writing. Most recent recipe enjoyed: peanut butter cookies.
  12. United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State by Warren Brown. What and why: For one thing, it's a great concept, and it's fun to read about regional recipes in this book by CakeLove owner Warren Brown. It includes a healthy dose of history, and plenty of interesting recipes to discover. As a bonus, it's beautifully designed and very fun to flip through. Recent recipe enjoyed: Hartford Election Day Cake. Note: if you like this book, you may also enjoy another favorite of mine, All American Desserts: 400 Star-Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America's Best Loved Desserts .
  13. A World of Cake by Krystina Castella. What and why: This book deserves a gold star for hitting all of the points of things I love in a cookbook: beautiful pictures, interesting backstories, plenty of baking lore, and straightforward, unfussy recipes. I strongly suggest this one for any cake enthusiast!
Friday
Nov262010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Feeling fuzzy after all that food yesterday? Come back to life with some totally sweet links.

First off: Sweet savings! All orders from today through Cyber Monday are 10% off at CakeSpyShop.com! Just use code CSHOL10 online!

An adorable project made with CakeSpy stamps from Taylored Expressions!

Sweet leftovers: delicous cranberry nut squares made from Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Are you still eating gingerbread men, like a jerk? Far awesomer: Ninjabread Men!

Pumpkin cookies, "without a nutmeggy punch to the face": find them at The  Full English.

You need holiday cards. Pick a sweet selection here!

Oh, who are we kidding: you could go for one more pie. This pecan pie looks like a good one to try. (via Whipped)

Oh, come on. Now that you've had a taste of additional pie, make one more: the Cranberry Pecan pie in a Maple Peanut Butter Crust!

Make your Christmas tree exra-sweet with a Cuppie ornament!

Haute Chocolate: a delightful-sounding hot chocolate recipe from Sweet Paul, as discovered on Food News Journal.

Why shop when you can win? Enter the Happy Haul-idays giveaway from Chronicle Books!

Better than munchkins: Spiced Pumpkin Donut Holes, an ideal post-Thanksgiving breakfast!

Bring on the Christmas Cookies: If you're in Seattle, you must attend this event with Alice Medrich, author of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, including several of the recipes from the book baked by local foodie celebrities! Buy your tickets here.

Friday
Nov192010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Happy Friday! Here's a sweet sendoff into what promises to be a sugar-filled weekend, by way of a baker's dozen of sweet links:

Peppermint Dreams: topping the list of things I love right now is the dark chocolate cookie filled with white chocolate peppermint ganache (pictured top), a seasonal treat which will be on offer from approximately Thanksgiving through Christmas from Seattle's roving sweets truck, Street Treats.

Pie in the sky: Saveur has the most wonderful roundup of Thanksgiving Pies.

Sweet fancy: a collection of vintage (like, REALLY vintage) Thanksgiving recipes to explore, by Meaghan of The Decorated Cookie!

Beat of a different Drumstick: a sweet dessert inspired by the ice cream treat.

Fascinating: A list of 25 unexpected chocolate-covered foods.

iSpy: The i Bakery is a sweet new custom-order bakery in Vancouver.

The new Sarabeth's Bakery cookbook: if Dorie Greenspan approves, it is worth buying.

Monstrously delicious: Grendel Sweets.

Pumpkin love: a pumpkin cupcake recipe from Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake fame.

Perl District: I was delighted to discover Perl Girl's rugelach via TastingTable.

Brownies? Cookies? Why decide? Say hello to Brookies from Clinton St. Baking Company (also where I tried to make these cookies and kind of saved them)

Remember those turkey hand-cutouts you made in elementary school? Just saying, the cookie version is far awesomer (via Four and 20 Blackbirds)

International Sweet Tooth: Milk Caramel is a Sweet Treat in Brazil.

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