Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Mascarpone Icing

First, let me ask you to please forgive me. I feel I should be, as tomorrow is Thanksgiving, talking about pomegranate glazed turkey or rosemary mashed potatoes, but I'm not. See, we woke up the other morning to about an inch of snow--our first snow of the season!--and my attention was pulled...

I love Albuquerque snow. Like Santa or the tooth fairy, it is rather shy and tends to arrive in the middle of the night when there are no witnesses. I'll wake up in the morning and feel a certain charge in the air, like something is different, like something big happened during the night, and, sure enough, I will discover that the world is covered in soft white powder. The best part is that the snow usually melts off the roads and sidewalks by mid-day so there is hardly a need to own a snow shovel. (Although, just for the record we did pick up a snow shover at an estate sale a few years back.) 

I woke up at three o'clock Sunday morning with that familiar excited feeling. I quietly slid out of bed, tip-toed across the cold hard-wood floors, past the snoring dogs, and pulled back our bedroom curtain a crack to peek outside. Sure enough, everything was dusted with snow. I was so excited that I jumped back into bed and woke Colin up to tell him. Needless to say, we were up early to enjoy the snow. And what is better on a cold snowy morning then fresh warm cinnamon rolls?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chocolate Cream Swiss Roll-Up Cake

I was sitting around reading cookbooks the other day when I read a recipe for German Chocolate Roll Cake in Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. My mind was immediately pulled into a deep hypnotic state by the tantalizing spiral of cake and filling. 

When I finally regained consciousness I awoke to find that an idea had taken seed in my head. I should swap the German chocolate filling for creamy, marshmallow filling. (Don't get me wrong, I love German chocolate cake--you can't go wrong with chocolate, coconut, and pecans--but I think the jar of marshmallow fluff in my pantry must have beckoned me in my highly suggestible state.) And just because the cake isn't chocolatey enough already, serve it with warm chocolate ganache.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chocolatey Mustache-on-a-Stick Amaretto Sugar Cookies

It's that special time of year when facial hair is in the air, commonly known as No Shave November or Movember. Some people grow their hair to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer. For others, it's an excuse to put away their razors and let their hair loose. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Zen of Homemade Mascarpone

I invite you to join me today as I guide you through the Zen of making mascarpone (a soft Italian cheese similar to cream cheese) using a recipe I slightly adapted from Manu's Menu. Please don't think of this as merely a method for making mascarpone but as a spiritual journey of self discovery! If you follow my instructions closely you will find your mind at ease and your heart at peace because life is about doing, not achieving.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.  - Guatama Buddha

Step I: Prepare a Double Boiler

1. Hold a medium saucepan in your hand. Feel the pan's weight as the muscles in your arm quiver. Notice your mind jump to a future in which you lifting weights regularly. Gently bring your mind back to reality. 

2. Carry the saucepan to the sink and place it under the faucet. Turn on the cold water. Hear the water rushing from the tap. Fill the saucepan with an inch and a half of water.

3. Turn off the tap. Notice the sounds now present in the absence of pouring water: the sparrows singing in the yard; the gentle hum of the refrigerator; the kids screaming at each other in the bedroom.

4. Walk mindfully, step by step, heel to toe, to the stove. Step carefully over the 70 pound dog sprawled out apparently dead asleep in the middle of the kitchen floor without spilling the water, even when said dog jumps up as you are mid-straddle.

5. Place the saucepan on the stove top. 

6. Place a medium or large metal bowl on the saucepan. Make sure the bowl is large enough so that the bottom sits above the water.