BEcause When you're having one of those weeks, you top your sister's pancake recipe with sautéed blackberries and pears
Let me start out by saying that pancakes and I have a funny relationship (I realize, of course, that any relationship with a pancake is, in and of itself, funny, but never mind that). The thing is, I crave, adore and admire them, but I'll rarely commit to making or ordering them (come to think of it, that does actually sound a lot like a relationship. Ugh).
Let me clarify that statement, though. When I say pancake, I am specifically referring to an American-style pancake, not a European-style pancake. When it comes to the French and Scandinavian varieties, I'm all in, in that 'til death do us part' kind of way. But when it comes to the thicker, weightier, and more substantial American rendition, I've always been a little fickle (try not to read to much into this...pancakes, people, we are talking pancakes.)
This does not reflect a deeper, inner battle waging between my dueling Scandinavian and American loyalties - I went to an international school, for goodness sake. I'm all about 14 different takes on the same three ingredients at a multinational bake sale, raising funds for a multinational production of The Crucible, in a setting straight out of Disney's 'It's a Small World.'
It's just that I'm so often disappointed by a stack of good ole' American flapjacks. They hold so much promise - that golden color, those crisp, browned edges, the height, the knob of butter balancing on top, and the (real) maple syrup, oh the syrup that oozes down its sides and pools, warmly at its feet. There's a reason that, other than bursting, runny egg yolks, they're possibly the most frequently posted 'food porn' on Instagram. I mean, I wake up in the morning, reach for my phone, and immediately feel the need to go all '1950's housewife' on my kitchen, whipping out the blueberries, syrup and a general sentimentality that pancakes seem to conjure up. But more often than not, I take one bite and realize that the apparent hope for a better tomorrow, isn't found in a heavy, stodgy round of pan-cooked cake.
I want crispy edges and fluffy, flavorful insides! I want a pancake that really tastes of something. And I want to have a bite and actually feel the need to have another. Rarely are those needs met.
So, this morning, I woke up exhausted and reeling from an intense week of post-vacation catch up, and an exciting venture into food videos for a company I'm totally inspired by, and I thought 'I just want to make something that makes me feel good.' No, not in that healthy, virtuous, 'I'm totally satisfied by kale' kind of way, but in that 'I'll probably feel super lethargic and regret this later' kind of way.
With a brain too tired to come up with anything on its own, I texted my sister for suggestions. 'Pancakes!' She said, 'you love pancakes! I have the best recipe for apple cider pancakes.' I thought, for a moment, of the disappointment that may very well lay ahead of me, if I ventured into the land of underwhelming hotcakes, and then, like the girl who still orders bourbon, even though she knows it'll give her a headache, decided to give them a whirl.
Oh boy. Ladies and gentlemen, she may be three years younger, but man, my little sister knows more about a good pancake than her older, hitherto-sheltered sister could have possibly imagined. These babies where everything I could have hoped for, and above all else, equal parts fluffy and flavorful. The cider flavor is subtle, and creeps in at the end, and the addition of the yogurt makes them perfectly tender. I consider myself thoroughly schooled in the art of our domestic varietal.
Make. These. Now.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and give them a good whisk to combine. Then, dig a little well in the middle.
Into the well, add the cider, yogurt, egg and butter. Then, using your whisk, combine all the ingredients, but do not over mix. It's ok if there are a few little lumps left in the batter - they will cook out. If you mix too much, you risk a tough pancake, and who likes a tough pancake? Not I.
Once the batter is ready, get working on your fruit. I used my cast iron skillet for this, because, well, I always feel like a real pro when I break out the cast iron - but you can use any pan you like.
Melt the butter at medium heat and add your pears and blackberries, then add your honey. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the pears are soft and the blackberries have released a good amount of juice. Keep an eye on things though, as the honey can burn quite easily. Just keep things moving around the pan.
Cook your pancakes in a pan over medium heat, using a little extra butter, for a couple of minutes per side. You'll know they're ready to flip, when you see bubbles bursting in the center of the pancake.
Serve them topped with the fruit and its syrup and, of course, a little (or a lot) of maple syrup drizzled on top.
The reality is, I'll probably continue to date crepes and Swedish pancakes - I mean make, make crepes and Swedish pancakes, but my eyes have certainly been opened to a breakfast cake with a little more substance. And hey, as long as it has maple syrup poured all over it, who can really tell the difference anyway?!
* For the lightest, fluffiest pancakes, use regular AP, however, if you're gluten intolerant, you can certainly swap it out for your favorite GF variety (I like Cup 4 Cup). Spelt flour, even though it still contains gluten, is a little easier to digest and manages to render the same result as AP.
** Plain, cow's milk yogurt is great here, but I'm a little sensitive to it, so I used goat's milk yogurt instead. It gave the pancakes a really lovely, savory undertone that paired really nicely with the sweet cider.
Because when your grandmother goes rogue, you have complete license to follow suit.
Every family has recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. And by recipes, I mean scratchings on the back of a cocktail napkin, vague instructions passed down verbally (that seem to change just slightly with every iteration) and faded, grease-stained cookbooks, with certain pages in particular that reflect the smeared and fingerprinted popularity of a treasured dish.
As memories blur, tastes change and scribbles fade, the passing-down of recipes becomes a bit of a game of Chinese Whispers, and what once may have been the Arnoldi family's recipe for its world famous apple crumble (in some, very discerning parts, anyway), has become whatever version of said crumble our 94-year-old grandmother choses to remember.
Jean Arnoldi, the matriarch of my mother's side of the family, is a woman of great strength, intelligence, wit and perseverance. Jean Arnoldi is also a woman who is never wrong. (I'm pretty sure that trait was passed down to all the women of the family, along with an appreciation for dark chocolate and deeply disturbing television thrillers.)
My grandmother refuses to age and thank goodness for that. She climbs stepladders to hang Christmas ornaments (despite the fact that she can barely see or balance), sticks her head in the pot to make sure the water is boiling (I mean, I just can't) and insists that apple crumble was always, always made with an oat topping. On this final point, I can assure you, it was not.
Crumble has been my family's go-to dessert since I can remember. It's simple, quick and always delicious – it's the dessert that wins you major points, with barely any effort. It featured prominently at the end of a many-a-weekend meal, summer beach picnics, and the occasional, particularly grizzly school night, when a little something extra was required.
And crumble was always made with flour, butter, sugar, a pinch of salt and apples. That's it. No more, no less, and certainly no oats. But at some point, during the last 10 years, granny started throwing oats into the mix. No big deal, right? I mean, it's apple crumble – as long as it's delicious, who cares? It's just that our stubborn grandmother insists it was always made that way. It's like the scribbled-on cocktail napkin was lost – like the torn notebook page had been misplaced. And there's no use arguing, because even when my granny seems to concede, she waits til you turn away, before mouthing the words 'you're wrong of course, darling' under her breath. Infuriating? Yes. But wonderful at the same time. I'm convinced that a nature so stubborn pushes you forward. It pushed her through her time as a nurse during the war, through raising five children, through being the devoted wife of a brilliant (and very busy) doctor, and through the almost 21 years alone, since his passing.
So, if my granny wants to believe (whole-heartedly) that apple crumble was always made with oats, well then the rest of us will respect our elder and take her word for it! (Until she turns away, and we collectively whisper 'you're wrong of course, darling' under our breaths.)
Having flown the nest long ago, and realized that, apparently, nothing is sacred, I've started making my own memory-lapsed versions of this family classic. I figure, as long as I call it crumble, think of my grandmother when I make it, and throw at least four of the primary ingredients in, I'm not going any more rogue than granny did.
So, this week, I incorporated a snack that I've absolutely fallen for. It's called Gigi's Remix, and it's ridiculously delicious. Somewhere between granola and trail mix, this crunchy, sweet and wholesome blend of sprouted nuts, goji berries, cacao nibs and coconut flakes, among other things, is as crave-worthy as it is healthful. When you read through the list of ingredients clearly printed on the front of the packet, you find yourself turning the bag to look for additional items, perhaps sneakily listed on its back side. It can't possibly be this good, and not have at least one thing I can't pronounce hidden inside it, can it?
Apparently, it can.
This stuff's good as is, in a bowl with any milk you like, and, as I've recently discovered, baked into the non-traditional topping of an ever-evolving apple crumble.
Cue the remix.
For the crumble topping:
For the filling:
Set your oven to 350*F.
Peel, core and chop your apples into bite-sized pieces, then mix them in a bowl with two tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, Gigi's Remix, sugar and salt, and then cut in the butter in chunks.
Using your hands, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture, until you have a crumbly dough. You want the butter evenly distributed throughout.
Butter a pie dish, add in the apples in a fairly even layer, and crumble the topping over them. You want nice chunks of buttery topping covering all the apples.
Oh, and I also threw on a few pumpkin seeds, because I love 'em, but this was more of an afterthought, rather than part of the recipe.
Bake the crumble for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden on top and bubbling. Then serve it up as is or with a big scoop of soon-to-be-melting, vanilla ice cream on top.
That's my take on it, anyway, and I'm curious to find out how it goes down with the head of the family. Perhaps we're back to an oat-free rendition come Christmas time when I see my lovely granny next, at which point this may be far too revolutionary. But then again, you never know.
I don't think we'll ever win the battle on irresponsible stepladder usage or steam facials not administered by a professional, but at least we still get crumble when we come to visit, even if it's different from what we grew up on.
*Gigi's Remix is primarily sold in California, however you can oder it online from anywhere. You can, of course, and by all means, incorporate your favorite granola instead. Something heavy in nuts, berries and seeds, rather than clusters, works best.
** If you're using a particularly sweet apple, such as Golden Delicious, you can cut the sugar down to ¼ cup – unless you like your desserts on the sweeter side.
because birthdays are about cake, even when You're a little on the savory side
I will freely admit that I'm totally the girl who makes her own birthday cake - almost every year. 'Happy birthday to me!' I think, as I frost three layers of celebratory genoise. No, it's not because I don't have a wonderful group of friends and family who offer to take care of such things - it's because I know what I like. When you're the person people come to for dessert, doesn't it make sense to provide yourself with the same experience? I believe it falls under the 'treat yourself' and 'because I'm worth it' mantras we so often utter, right before making a really frivolous or irresponsible decision. (Has anyone else been shopping after two glasses of wine, btw? You're totally worth it until the rosé colored glasses come off.) No, I'm not a control freak.
Ok, maybe just a baby control freak, but I'm ok with that. We all have something. Cake by me it is.
Not only do I make my own cake, I also try to make a birthday cake (or any cake) for as many of my friends as I can manage. I have a stack of cake boxes at the ready, stowed under my desk, for precisely these occasions.
When you're a kid, birthday cake is a bit of a given and chances are, mom or dad will have you covered. From homemade to store-bought, cake features prominently as part of your special day, from the age when you'll probably stick your tiny foot in it, to the age when you're too embarrassed to be celebrating with your parents to actually enjoy it. It simply isn't a birthday until the designated amount of candles have dripped their inedible wax into the frosting of a cake so loaded with sugar, it's a wonder you make it through the remainder of the day after eating it. And what is another year gone by, without a flame snuffing wish by which to enter the next.
As an adult, however. you have to hope that someone else assumes the parental responsibility, or it falls on you to take matters into your own hands. I try to assume that responsibility when I can, because no matter how grown up my friends are, they still light up at the sight of piped buttercream. And sprinkles. Sprinkles will always make 'em smile.
I have made quite a few of these celebratory cakes in the last few years, for many a sweet-toothed friend and co-worker, but this week, I was faced with a bit of an obstacle. The birthday of one of my nearest and dearest was looming and, despite the fact that he shuns the idea of drawing attention to this occasion at work, I was intent on making him a cake. Because it's my party and I'll bake if I want to, dammit...right? Ish. (Still not a control freak.)
Obstacles two, three and four were that he doesn't care for sweets and that he's lactose and gluten intolerant.
Now, you may be thinking 'Tess, just throw in the towel, you're fighting a losing battle here!' Sure, sure, sure I could. But I'm stubborn as hell, and if I want to make a cake, I'm going to make a damn cake. (Let's call it headstrong - that has a more positive ring to it.)
So how do you celebrate without sweets, gluten and dairy? Oh, and without really celebrating? You realize that he can tolerate goat milk and cheese, that he likes beets and that if you serve the 'cake' up once almost everyone has left, it's a little less like celebrating and a little more like enjoying an extravagant midnight snack with a glass of champagne and a few select co-workers. And so, the beet salad birthday cake was born.
With sliced, roasted beets to serve as the cake layers, whipped goat cheese to serve as the frosting and toasted, salted macadamia nuts for some added crunch and decorative flair, you end up with something that looks so much like birthday cake, friends will be utterly surprised when they unwittingly bite into something much more savory than they had expected.
Set your oven to 400*F.
Place your beets on a large baking sheet covered with a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the olive oil over the beets and season them with salt and pepper. Tear off another sheet of aluminum foil and lay it over the beets. Crimp the two sheet together at the edges, to form a sealed pocket for your beets to cook in. Roast them for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender all the way through.
Once the beets are roasted, and cooled enough to handle, rub the skins off, using two paper towels. Set the beets aside to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the goat cheese, lemon zest, goat yogurt and salt and pepper to taste. Whip the ingredients at medium speed, until completely incorporated and smooth. You want a 'pipeable' consistency, so if you need to add a little more yogurt to make that happen, by all means do. Place the 'frosting' in a piping bag, fitted with a star tip.
Slice your beets to somewhere between a 1/4 inch and a 1/2 inch thickness, using a mandolin or a knife and a steady hand.
Chop your nuts (reserving a few whole ones to decorate with on top) and tear your basil (also reserving a few whole leaves for the top.)
Using a 6" cake ring placed on top of a cake plate or board, begin to layer your ingredients. Start with a thin layer of frosting, so that the cake sticks to the plate and doesn't slide, then add your first layer of sliced beets. You'll have to cut a few of the rounds to fit - don't worry, you won't be able to tell on the finished cake.
Next, pipe a layer of frosting, top that with some of the chopped nuts and a bit of the basil, then repeat with a beet layer. Continue this process, until you reach the top of the cake ring. At this point, place the cake in the fridge, so that the goat cheese frosting sets.
When you're ready to serve it, gently slide the ring up and off the cake. Decorate the top with the remaining frosting, whole macadamias and a few whole basil leaves.
And there you have it! A cake that's also an appetizer. The stuff that every child's birthday dreams are made of!
Seriously though, everyone needs a birthday cake. It's just a fact. And if you have someone in your life who makes a beeline for the salad bar instead of the dessert table, this one's sure to be a hit.
Because, when it comes to dessert, the messier the better
It's a known fact - dessert makes people happy. From cracked-out children on a sugar high, to grown-ups not finishing their dinners, so that they have just enough room for something sweet, the effect of a meal's final course is universal.
I have literally seen grown men in suits wriggle in their seats come the end of a long, serious, business dinner, at the thought of chocolate molten cake. 'Oooooh, is that like a lava cake? Does it come with ice cream? Can we make it two scoops of ice cream??' they plead, with conspiratorial winks and glances, and a sudden abandonment of the formality associated with the more savory courses.
I've always believed that this glee induced by sweets comes from the fact that dessert, more than any other food group, is emotional. Dessert is playing in the neighborhood until dark, it's coming home to mom's famous crumble, it's hiding cookies in your room, it's crumbs in bed, it's chocolate all over your face, it's long summer days filled with ice cream cones, and it's always, always a good thing.
If you want to sell dessert at a restaurant, write the menu using a lot of adjectives. Don't write 'apple pie,' write 'rustic, toasty-warm apple pie with a flaky, golden shortcrust pastry. Dusted with warming cinnamon-sugar and topped with rich, melting, real vanilla-bean ice cream.' Not only will your customers want to order it, they'll want to take a damn bath in it, rub it all over their faces, and call their moms to tell them they love 'em.
I also believe that the most craveable desserts are the most imperfect ones - the messiest ones. Or course, there's nothing like a beautifully decorated, immaculate cake, so perfectly constructed it practically screams 'photograph me', but that's just it - you want to take a picture, but by no means do you want to ruin it by slicing yourself a piece. Perfection, in dessert, lies in how it tastes and how it makes you feel, not in what it looks like. It's not about symmetrical lines and even spacing, it's about rustic plenty, bursting fruit, melts and drips, and sticky fingers. And it's about simplicity.
One of my favorite desserts satisfies both of those criteria. Eton Mess is, as indicated by its name, messy and ridiculously simple. Originally an English dessert, served at the annual cricket match between Eton College and Harrow School, it's comprised of broken meringue, whipped cream and strawberries, unceremoniously dumped into a bowl and mixed together.
It doesn't get much simpler than that. (As a side note, I love the idea of England's most promising and well-to-do young boys, gorging themselves on bowls of mess, with gobs of whipped cream undoubtedly perched at the corners of their mouths.)
I made this dish a fair amount when I lived in London, mostly because it's so delicious, but also because it reminds me of the big bowls of strawberries and cream we used to eat when I was little, and still eat every summer in Denmark.
I don't want to get into measurements here, because it's really not about that. Eton Mess isn't an exact science, it's just mixing whipped cream, broken meringue and berries together.
You can simply slice the berries and mix them in as they are, or you can slice half of them and simmer the other half with just a touch of sugar, until they break down, and then blend them into a sauce.
Break up your meringues and fold them into the whipped cream, along with the strawberry pieces and the sauce (if you made some). Give everything a light mix and then sprinkle some slivered almonds on top for a little added texture.
Now devour it, take a bath in it and rub it all over your face. Oh, and call your mamma, because you'll definitely get all the love feels from this one.
As a bachelor, my dad had a trick or two up his sleeve.
My father, native of Yonkers, New York, former Pan Am captain and Marine Corps veteran for life, knows a thing or two, about a thing or two.
Dad could fly 288 passengers safely from New York to New Delhi, rocket down the double blacks of Austrian, snow-capped mountains, and solve almost every cantankerous calculus problem my sister and I encountered. (We're still working on things like navigating Instagram and programming the iPhone, but hey, that's what daughters are for!)
Though no son or daughter likes to speculate too much about 'life before mom' (what life before mom?!), it's pretty clear to me that a career as an airline pilot for the world's most glamorous airline, Pan Am, may have come with a few perks. Perks like flight attendants and free travel. Or was it free travel with flight attendants? I'm not sure. I won't ask. In any case, my dad was either in uniform or a bomber jacket. You get the idea.
As a happy bachelor, who literally traveled the world, dad was armed with three things: A moustache (it was the 70's, after all), a passport and a recipe - Breakfast soufflé.
The significance of this recipe didn't really become clear to me until later in life, but I get it now. Any man who can whip up a soufflé, is ahead of the game. He actually scoffs at the game.
So here you have it, in his own words, as emailed to me by my father...
"Tess, this actually has a name. It is affectionately known as the 'I had you last night, breakfast soufflé' - perhaps that should be left out.
Put the butter in the soufflé dish and put into a 425*F oven until the butter melts and starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. Watch it! The minute you turn around, it burns!
Beat together eggs, milk, sugar, flour and salt until smooth.
Throw the mixture into the bubbly butter as soon as you take the dish from the oven.
Return the whole thing to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Sweeten your fruit as you think necessary and dump it into the center of the soufflé.
Since his days of bachelor-dom, dad has expanded his repertoire to include a few other recipes, including bolognese, damn-fine chili and an oh-so-fancy scallop dish with fried sage, but this sweet number is just a little legendary. It truly is delicious. I mean, it would have to be. Mom was a flight attendant. The rest is history.
When your current drinkable obsession has Beautifying properties, you put it on absolutely everything
Let me start off by saying that if it's good enough for Cleopatra, well then it's good enough for me! That woman had Richard Burton hot on her heels long before the incident with the asp. I mean Anthony. Anthony was hot on her heels. (Though, let's be real, ancient Egypt will always belong to Liz and Dickey.)
The Queen of the Nile was known to use rosewater in her beauty routine, thousands of years ago, long before it became an 'it' ingredient featured in products sold by brands ironically still featuring Elizabeth Taylor in their ad campaigns. It's a magical elixir, rich in antioxidants and skin brightening properties, and if I could take a bath in a tub filled to the brim with it, I would. Rosewater, rose petals, Rosé, bubbles - you feel me, right? I'd step out of that claw foot clean, pure, hair perfectly slicked back, and glowing from the inside out. (Realistically...raccoon-eyed, soaking and suddenly very cold, wishing I had a bottle of detangler. But who needs reality - this is my fantasy and it's perfect!)
So when I was walking the aisles of Whole Foods a while ago, and spotted pretty bottles containing some form of rosewater beverage and the words 'Drink and Be Beautiful' written across them, I thought 'I hear ya, Cleo," and bought six.
I'm normally a sparkling water and kombucha girl, but something about the idea of consuming rosewater, made me feel incredibly virtuous and decidedly sensual.
After checking out, having bought far more than the three tomatoes I had originally come for (Whole Foods is my IKEA), I cracked open a bottle of H2rOse and proceeded to be totally delighted, This floral liquid infused with saffron powder is absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, delicate, really refreshing, and not, as I had feared, like sucking on a bowl of potpourri, in the least. Apparently, beauty doesn't have to be pain!
Since that day of discovery, I've tried to find more ways of enjoying this stuff! I normally have it as is, cold and straight out of the fridge, but yesterday I thought 'let's make something with this!'
Rosewater pairs really well with a Middle Eastern flavor palette, and I was in the mood for dessert. So, I thought I'd make a syrup infused with cardamom using the Wild Berry flavor H2rOse features, and serve it over some coconut milk ice cream with pistachio brittle. Oh. Yes.
For the brittle:
Start by making your brittle.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and a 1/4 cup of water in a sauce pot, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the sugar is totally dissolved, reduce the heat ever so slightly (you still want it bubbling at more than a simmer, but you don't want a splatter situation). Cook this for about 4-5 minutes, until a candy thermometer reads 290*F.
Add your pistachios, salt and butter, and stir to combine well. Continue to cook this mixture, until it begins to take on a rich golden color, about 2-3 more minutes. You're looking for the thermometer to hit 300*F.
Pull the mixture off the heat, add your baking soda and spices, stir quickly, and pour the ferociously bubbling mixture onto the pre-oiled baking sheet. Spread it in an even layer, and allow the brittle to cool completely, before breaking it into pieces.
Combine the H2Rose, sugar and cracked cardamom pods in a sauce pot, and over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce to a simmer and add the sliced plums. Simmer the plums until really soft, but not totally falling apart - about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the plums with a slotted spoon, and continue to simmer the liquid until it has reduced by half.
Add the reduced liquid to the plums, discard the cardamom pods, and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Serve the plums over the ice cream with a big piece of brittle and enjoy!
Yes, you're eating ice cream, but it's basically like having a facial, so treat yourself! At least you're not walking out of an esthetician's office with a red, prodded face so covered in creams, serums and balms, that you want to go hide under a rock until your skin finds its way back to a more approachable degree of cleanliness.
It's the little things.
Because nothing says school snack, like chocolatey balls soaked in rum.
Yes, it's true, we Scandinavians come out of the womb with blonde locks, a penchant for dark and twisted literature and a glass of Aquavit in our hands. What I mean to say is, we come ready to play!
It is therefore no surprise that we start everything a little earlier, and that when you ask a Danish child what her favorite sweet treat happens to be, more often than not, you'll find she has a weakness for what is known as a rum ball.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we soak cakey, chocolatey dough in rum, roll it up, throw on some sprinkles, and serve it to our young ones - and they go nuts for it.
I remember two things about my school snack bar: Crispy grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and these yummy, rummy orbs. Come to think of it - great pairing!
To be fair, most of these confections are actually made with what is called essence of rum, instead of real rum, but take one bite and you're basically on a beach in Havana with tiny paper umbrellas and the faint smell of a Cuban cigar wafting past you.
I like to think that it's in an effort to develop sophisticated palates from an early age, but in reality, I think it was a clever way to keep young, rowdy Vikings just a little on the subdued side. And, hey, every child needs a little warmth on the inside when jumping bare-assed into the North Sea on those 'warm' summer days!
In a large bowl, crumble the leftover cake, until it has reached a fine crumb. Add your jam, cocoa and rum, and mix thoroughly to combine. You want a homogenous dough - no lumpy 'bits'.
Pinch off tablespoonful balls of the dough, and roll them into perfect spheres between your palms.
Roll the balls in the toppings of your choice, and place them in the refrigerator to firm up slightly, about 15 minutes.
If you don't eat them all in one sitting, you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for about 5 days. I like to take them out about 5 - 10 minutes before serving them, so they soften ever so slightly.
So yeah, there were those who enjoyed Little Debbie cakes and Fruit-by-the-Foot, and then there were those of us who ate balls of dough soaked in sugar cane spirit. Well played mom and dad, well played.
Because-it's-wednesday-Afternoon-and-you-remember-you-have-a-waffle-Iron waffles. And because, Bourbon
Honestly, sometimes I wonder what's going through my head when it comes to planning a meal for myself.
I can wake up and think of Vietnamese pho, and my day is not complete until I have either driven way out of my way, across town (in horrific, pull-your-hair-out Los Angeles traffic) to find it, or spent three hours making it myself, only to realize I don't have air conditioning, and all this aromatic, soupy steam is giving me a panic attack.
Today, it was waffles. Scrolling through Instagram, I happened on a gorgeous golden, buttery stack and I knew that, despite the fact that I only ever really want two perfect bites of waffle before I lose interest, I had to make some.
As a side note, waffles are kind of a thing for me. Mainly it's the idea of them that sends my cravings through the roof. I never order them on a menu - I can't commit to that. I have, however, built them up in my head as the perfect marriage of pillowy sweetness and satisfying crunch, and for that reason alone, I respect, admire and crave them.
I think the most excited I've ever gotten over a Christmas present, was the waffle iron my sister gave me one year. The irony of being pulled aside from the security belt at Brussels international airport by a guard, when my bomb-shaped waffle iron set off alarms in my hand-luggage, does not escape me.
Fortunately, I was allowed to keep said iron, and today i reap the benefits.
Being a bourbon drinker, a former resident of Atlanta, Georgia and a waffle fantasist, I set my mind to pairing them with roasted peaches, bourbon-caramel sauce and (just for good measure) a little Greek yogurt to lighten things up.
Set your oven to 400* F.
Toss the peaches with the cubed butter, honey and a pinch of sea salt, arrange them on a lined baking sheet and bake them for 20 minutes, turning them once, halfway through.
Meanwhile, make your caramel sauce and waffles. Add the sugar to a thick-bottomed saucepan and heat it over low heat, until the sugar begins to melt and takes on a golden color. You need to watch the caramel, as it can burn easily. Don't mix the sugar around! Just let it do its thing, and once it's all melted, you can gently give the pan a swirl. Let it reach a deep brown (but not black - black means you screwed up)
At this point, remove the saucepan from the stove and add the cream, bourbon and salt. It will bubble vigorously, but eventually simmer down. Return it to the heat for a few moments, until everything is nice and smooth and cohesive.
Make your waffles according to your favorite recipe. If that happens to be the back of a box, more power to you for taking back an extra half hour of your day.
Whip the yogurt and honey together until completely combined.
Finally, top those beautiful peaks and valleys with your roasted peaches, whipped yogurt and bourbon-kissed caramel.
Now remind yourself it's Wednesday, you're a grown-up and you just made waffles happen in the middle of the day.