Category Archives: Desserts

Bucket List: Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake

Like most people, I hate to see food go to waste. I cringe as I watch my kale shriveling up, and feel great pangs of guilt as I toss the forgotten Tupperware of pasta into the trash. I try to goad my husband into eating things for lunch that are well past their prime, heralding virtues of convenience, and I have once or twice (okay, three times) been known to give my dogs stale crostini topped with tired pâté.

Ingredients for Banana Cake.

The makings of the deliciousness.

Not this week though. No, this week I was eying the bananas on my counter, daring them to turn brown, so I could make a cake, the idea for which I had come up with while tossing and turning the other night.

When asked what I should call it, one of my co-workers mumbled through a mouthful, “This is f*cking delicious! Call it that! F*cking Delicious Cake!”

She later modified her suggestion to Bucket List Cake, which I think works quite nicely…because if you’re only ever going to make five cakes in your life, this should definitely be one of them. Sinfully delicious, but not cloyingly sweet, and balanced with a perfect amount of moistness this is one for the ages, folks. It takes just 5 minutes to assemble, although the feelings of superiority of using up those wilting bananas will last for days.

Bucket List Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake
Adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Bucket List Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake

Bucket List Banana Split Chocolate Chip Cake…perfect warm out of the oven with a glass of red wine.

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 large ripened bananas
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (I think this was the secret ingredient…I used Chobani’s new Chocolate Chunk yogurt…holy hell it was good)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TB cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet pending on your preference)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan. Muffin tins also work nicely if you want more of a cupcake result.
  3. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add in egg, bananas, yogurt, and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.
  5. Mix everything until well incorporated (about 3 minutes).
  6. Add chocolate chips and nuts and stir until just combined (you don’t want to crush the nuts too finely)
  7. Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hr.
  8. Insert a tooth pick into the center of the cake and check to see if it comes out clean when you pull it out.
  9. Remove from heat and allow cake to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
  10. Invert the pan(s) onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cold. Delicious served with vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream, or a glass of red wine.


Filed under Desserts, Uncategorized

Picture Perfect: Lemon Tart with Raspberries

Don’t let his good looks fool you.

The other day was, simply put, not my day. It began something like this:

Erina, “Do you think Duke still needs to wear the harness when I walk or run with him? I don’t think he does….he’s such a good boy. I mean, he’s perfect!”

Matt, “I don’t know…it’ll depend how much he pulls when he sees something he wants.”

Erina (dismissively), “It’ll be fine.”

5 minutes later I clipped up the “perfect” Duke, sans harness, and grabbed the bottle of champagne and my bottle of water (my new secret anti-hangover device..bring a bottle of water and chug it like it’s my job). We trotted up the hill, en route to our friends CJ and Nadia’s house and no sooner had we turned onto their street (which incidentally is down hill, on a wet sidewalk, covered in moss), than Duke took off. CJ is after all his most favorite person and in his opinion there is no greater place on earth. I had done exactly what they preach you should not, never ever, not even a little bit do in puppy school and had wrapped the leash around my wrist. I went flying, the champagne went rolling, Duke kept running, and the next thing I know I’m being dragged along on the sidewalk, my pants ripped, my knee swollen, and my ego very bruised.

It gets worse.

Upon being scolded by CJ for my less than surgical cleaning of said wound, I was promptly sat in a chair, hydrogen peroxided to the hilt, wrapped and taped up, and then plunked with a bag of peas and my ever-expanding knee in the middle of the action. On the plus side, people did bring me champagne, so nothing wrong with that.

If you asked me, Mr Hippo had it coming…

A few hours later I decided to hobble around the kitchen and make a pizza. And what a beautiful pizza it was. Fresh dough, sautéed jalapeno cheddar sausage and mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella…I could go on. I cooked it perfectly on the pizza stone, spinning it to make sure it was done just right, and pulling it out at exactly the right moment. I topped it with garden fresh chopped basil, and then I went to cut it.

Perhaps it was being shaken up from the fall, or perhaps it was the champagne, or maybe it was the universe telling me to slow the hell down, but here I am cutting it and the pizza board (which is only 80% on the counter, but who notices that kind of thing) slips, the pizza goes flying and suddenly there is beautifully sautéed jalapeno cheddar sausage and mushrooms, and buffalo mozzarella, and garden fresh chopped basil all over the god damned kitchen floor.

CJ offered me her gluten free pizza, Nadia assured me that she’d just swept and it would be fine to eat, and Matt ordered take out. I was utterly defeated and went gingerly home, crawled into bed (at 6p), pulled the covers up over my head, and pouted for all I (and that beautiful pizza) were worth.

Don’t worry Mom…I’ll watch the table of beautifully prepared food for 30!

This Lemon Tart is the absolute antithesis to my dreadful Sunday. It is beautiful, and perfect, and sinfully delicious. My mama made it first, and we quickly scarfed it up, oohing and ahhing over the perfect combination of sweet raspberries, tangy lemon filling, and crunchy crust. This travels very nicely so is a great dessert to bring to a dinner or an event. Make it when you need to be picture perfect, and tied up in a bow.

Lemon Tart with Raspberries
Adapted from “William Sonoma Desserts”
Serves 8


Butter Cookie Dough, 1 disk at cool room temperature (recipe follows)

2 Eggs

2/3 C White Sugar

12 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature

1/2 C Sour Cream

2 tsp Lemon Zest

1 Lemon, juiced

2 TB Flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 carton, about 6 oz, raspberries

  1. Put the dough disc between 2 large sheets of parchment paper and roll out into a 12-inch round, 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough round in half and transfer to a pie plate. (A tart pan with a removable bottom would be better, but I don’t have one of those). Unfold the round and ease into the plate, patting firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the edges to form a 1/2 inch overhang. Fold the overhang back over itself and press into the sides of the pan. Freeze for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line the crust with foil, fill with pie weights, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue to bake until set and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  2. In the food processor, combine the egg and sugar and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the cream cheese, pulse to break it up, and then process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Add the sour cream, lemon zest and juice, flour, and vanilla and process just until smooth, about 20 seconds. Pour the filling into the partially baked crust.
  3. Bake until the top looks firm and is set when you gently shake the pan, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 1 hour. If using a tart pan, remove from the pan. If using a pie dish, leave as is. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight. Spoon the raspberries on top of the tart just before serving.

Butter Cookie Dough

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 TB vanilla

  1. Sift together the flours and salt into a bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low-speed, beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix just until a moist dough forms. Form the dough into three equal disks and wrap separately in plastic. Chill until firm, about 45 minutes. Storage tip: You may store the disks, wrapped tightly in plastic, in the fridge for up to 2 days, and in the freezer for up to 1 month.


Filed under Desserts, Entertaining, Kitchen Trials and Tribulations, Make ahead, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Erina Cake: & Sticky Buns

Clearly this requires no explanation.

Thursday night my mama arrived, full of big smiles, rolling laughs, and a declaration that we must, simply must make Sticky Buns.  She also brought a piece of my artwork that she’d found while cleaning out her files this winter. It was a small piece of construction paper on which I had drawn myself on one side (helpfully labeled “Erina” lest my mother or father forget my name) and a cake on the other (helpfully labeled “Cake” lest one not be able to tell).

“See Nana-B”, (that being just one of my family’s very sweet and slightly embarrassing nicknames for me), “you’ve been cooking and baking for years. It says it right there: Erina. Cake.”

She then resumed her campaign about making Sticky Buns having just had them while visiting her brother and sister-in-law in Norfolk, Virginia (which incidentally she is incapable of saying without laughing since Norfolk sounds like Nor-F*ck…get it, get it?). We are easily amused, what can I say.

Sticky Buns have always seemed like one of those “scary foods” requiring too many steps, too much skill, and the dreaded bread hook on my KitchenAid. But buoyed by my mother’s enthusiasm and my apparent child prodigy nature in the kitchen we got to baking, and you know what? They aren’t that hard. At all! And they are delicious! And impressive. So impressive I had to invite our friends Angela and Harrison (remember them?) down for an impromptu Saturday brunch so that others could witness their goodness.

Go ahead and give these a try…take that childhood enthusiasm and confidence that we seem to lose along the way, put on your apron, and make a bold declaration as only a five-year-old could. Erina. Cake.

Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns
Adapted Slightly from Simply Recipes

A perfect and easy Saturday brunch because you make them the night before. Serve with a pot of coffee and hard-boiled eggs.

Utter deliciousness. (I was just so proud it worked!)



  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°, you can use a meat thermometer to check)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter chopped into about 16 small pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon. salt
  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting


  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans


  1. Make the dough.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, about 7 – 10 minutes. You want to see some little air bubbles.
  2. Add milk, butter, remaining sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, salt and 3 cups flour.  Mix on low speed until blended. Switch to a dough hook and then, again on low speed, slowly incorporate the remaining 1 cup of flour. Increase speed to medium, kneading dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if too wet), 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Turn dough over in bowl to coat with the butter from the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or 2 hours if not in an entirely warm place). After the dough has risen, punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and let sit 20 minutes.
  3. Make the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt butter; keep separate.
  4. Roll dough out into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll dough into a cylinder. Place seam side down on a flat surface and cut crosswise into 15 slices.
  5. Make the topping. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, honey (or maple syrup) and corn syrup over low heat; stir until sugar and butter are melted. Pour mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan and sprinkle pecans on top.

    Waiting for the raw sticky buns to arrive and sit atop.

  6. Place dough slices, flat side down, on top of prepared topping. Space out so that they roughly fill the whole pan while still slightly touching in places. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving room for the buns to rise, and refrigerate overnight.

    I should have done a better job of more evenly spacing out in the pan.

  7. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator an hour before you want to make and let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Bake buns on the middle rack until golden, 28 – 32 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately (and carefully as not to spill hot topping on your toes!) invert onto a serving tray or baking dish. Let buns cool slightly and serve warm.

    Before the flip.

    A sticky bun and a hard boiled egg...the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

    15 buns...5 adults eating...let's not focus on the math.


Filed under Breakfasts, Comfort Foods, Desserts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Uncategorized

Winter Musings: Old English Toffee

When you grow up in a small New England town, simple pleasures become the events around which life exists. In the summer, the options are endless; building bonfires on the beach, skinny dipping, and watching the sun rise, meeting at the barn for midnight bareback races through the fields, and simple suppers out on the boat where even the most basic of meals taste delicious.

In the winter…the options are decidedly less endless…particularly when you’re young, broke, and your car only starts with a 50% probability rating. Once the sledding hill had been exhausted, and Meghan had kicked all our butts skating on the pond, I often ventured back inside to see what trouble we could get into in the kitchen.

This past weekend I jetted home for a whirlwind visit complete with high school basketball games, lobster multiple days in a row, beach walks, late night talks, and lots of huddling by fires. The most impressive fire of all was the Newbury bonfire where nearly 500 Christmas trees had been gathered and lit in a celebration of winter and, as my brother Ben put it, “because, really, what else is there to do around here in January?”

Big Ben and his Favorite Sister and Mother. All photos courtesy of

Oddly pagan if you ask me.

Drinking hot cider and rum to try and stay warm.

Me and my Mama.

This toffee is the ultimate winter dessert and also makes lovely gifts. You’re going to see in the directions it says “Don’t panic” and you’ll probably think, “That’s ridiculous, who would ever panic while making toffee?” Well, rest assured you probably will because there’s going to be a moment when you’ll be convinced you’ve wasted $20 worth of chocolate and who knows how much of almonds…but I promise you, it will come back together and be worth every second of anxiety.

Old English Toffee

They make beautiful, and coveted, gifts.

1 lb butter

1 lb finely chopped almonds, toasted

1 lb semi sweet chocolate (I like Ghirardelli )

2 cups sugar

Candy Thermometer (this is critical)

  1. Toast nuts at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet about 5 minutes, until brown on the edges. Don’t allow to burn!
  2. Combine butter and sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan until sugar melts, over medium heat.
  3. Add 1/2 the nuts and cook to 310 Degrees Fahrenheit, stirring constantly. Pending on how high your heat is this could take up to 20 minutes. During this time it’s likely that your butter and sugar will separate. DON’T PANIC. Turn up the heat, keep stirring, and they will combine again.  Note: The candy turns quickly near the end, so be careful not to burn. Will be a caramel color.
  4. Pour into a cookie sheet, spread to desired thickness and cool at room temperature.
  5. Melt chocolate in double broiler or microwave. Spread over cooked caramel, sprinkle with nuts, and allow to cool completely before breaking up and bagging.


Filed under Desserts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized

New Years Eve: Cranberry Delight

Cranberry Delight before popping into the oven...doesn't this look cool?

Every family has their own holiday traditions. Some festive and fun, others thoughtful and giving, and if we’re being honest probably the occasional temper tantrum and meltdown thrown in for good measure. Growing up our family covered all of these in the bustling weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. There was the opening of the Fox Hunt on Thanksgiving Day complete will mulled cider and pinks (Festive), the careful crafting of Christmas Wish Lists (Fun), the sneaky questions and leading suggestions to figure out what my Mom wanted besides bird seed and socks (Thoughtful), and the UNICEF box at our dining room table we put change into each day to go to children in need (Giving).

There was the selecting of the tree and the inevitable fight that ensued between my brother and myself (Tantrum) and the decorating it “just so” to match my Mom’s Victorian sensibilities (Meltdown).  [To be fair I should admit that I subsequently insist on decorating the tree “just so” with white lights and wooden ornaments, so who’s laughing now?]

There were also the meals that came along with each of these activities…Spicy New England Pot Roast (a favorite of my Dads), German Apple Pancakes (Brother Ben’s coveted Christmas Morning meal), and Cranberry Delight which held, and holds, universal appeal.

This is quick to make and is even better the next day so is a perfect dessert for that Holiday festive dinner. The tartness of the cranberries makes it a nice complement to a rich meal, and just try to forget immediately upon making it how much butter and shortening you’ve just put in. It’s worth it.

Happy New Year!

Cranberry Delight



8 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts or pecans


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening melted together


  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Spread cranberries in a greased 13×9 baking dish

  1. Sprinkle w/nuts and 1 cup sugar
  2. In a large mixer, beat eggs well. Add 2 c. sugar gradually until blended. Add flour and melted butter to egg/sugar mixture; beat well.
  3. Pour batter over cranberries.
  4. Bake 6o minutes until toothpick comes out clean



Filed under Desserts, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking

The Dessert Lottery: Winter Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Have you ever seen such a beautiful list?

With Thanksgiving complete and Christmas hot on its heels, I have a lot to be thankful for. This morning though, this sunny Seattle morning the day after Thanksgiving, the thing I am MOST thankful for is the fact that my Mom, aka Marnie Poppins, aka Expert Pie Maker Extraordinaire, has decided that her pies need work and this week (while visiting from Boston) is the week to tackle it. Have you ever heard of anything so awesome? So while I’m sitting here in my bathrobe writing this post, she’s off to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for FIVE days of back-to-back pies. Like I said, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

We’re already two pies into the week having brought a Pumpkin and Strawberry-Rhubarb to Thanksgiving Dinner last night. Lucky for me these didn’t turn out exactly like she wanted…so now it’s time for the Pie Jackpot. That said, I actually loved the Strawberry-Rhubarb and via using frozen rhubarb and frozen strawberries it becomes a wonderful taste of summer in the middle of winter. Make it when you’re craving something sweet, yet tart…just don’t make it too perfectly, or you won’t get a week of pies baked just for you by your loving Mama.

Winter Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  1. Prepare Flaky Pastry Pie Dough
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425 and place rack in the middle of the oven.
  3. Roll half the dough into a 13-inch round, fit into a 9-inch glass pie dish. Leave the overhanging dough as is since you’ll be making a lattice top as pictured here. Set in refrigerator to chill.
  4. Meanwhile take 5 cups of frozen rhubarb, pre-cut into 1″ pieces.
  5. Add to that 2 cups frozen strawberries.
  6. Combine with 1 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. Mix well and allow to stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Because you’re using frozen fruit you’ll see there is a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl as it thaws. This is okay.
  8. After fifteen minutes scoop out the fruit with a slotted spoon and put into the prepared pie crust. Discard the liquid (probably about 1 cup). Dot with 2 TB unsalted butter cut into small pieces.
  9. Brush the overhanging edge of the bottom crust with cold water. Cover with the lattice, then seal the edge, trim, and crimp or flute.
  10. Lightly brush the top with milk or cream.
  11. Sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar.
  12. Bake 10 minutes at 425, then reduce to 350 and bake another 30-40 minutes until thick juices bubble through the vents.
  13. Let cool completely before serving.


Filed under Desserts, Entertaining

The Corson Building: “Like, oh my god!”

The Corson Building

“So…what do you say we reserve our Zipcar for an extra hour before we head back to my parents?”, he crooned to his date smoothly hoping to distract from his mediocre good looks and advanced receding hairline.

His date, (who was admittedly much better looking, but whose vapid expression and refusal to actually eat any of the food in front of her immediately made me skeptical), declared “Totally!”, whipped out her iPhone with the urgency of someone grabbing their EpiPen and immediately started pecking away at the ZipCar ap.

This couple, smooshed next to us at The Corson Building’s communal dining table, was the epitome of NW trust fund babies, who are too ecofriendly to own their own cars, and too liberated to own a house, but who aren’t too proud to still be living with their parents in their 30s and 40s.

Now…you’re probably thinking that I’m being overly judgemental and sarcastic (it has been known to happen ) and are curious how it is that I know so much about these people. Well…for one…The Corson Building, which has dominated the Seattle restaurant scene with rave reviews and a cult like status, is a delightfully small space with large communal tables. I actually like dining like this, except for the rare instance where you’re seated next to Gucci-wearing, pseudo hippy, faux artists who make out at the table and sort of push their food around exclaiming about its’ “depth”, “energy”, and general “fucking awesomeness”.

To be fair, I think our dining neighbors may have given the evening a more sour tone than was deserved but for as excited and ecstatic as I was to try The Corson Building I was sadly disappointed. It’s good, not great. But for the price and exclusivity there are many better restaurants in Seattle (think Anchovies and Olives or La Medusa).

I started with the smoked and marinated trout and mussels with raw beets, crème fraiche, and walnut oil. Unfortunately, all those powerful flavors spent the whole time shouting over each other, rather than complimenting, resulting in a surprisingly bland, B- appetizer at best.

On I moved to the One half of a young chicken cooked in the fireplace with artichokes, and a sauce of livers & garden sorrel. This was yummy, but was prepared and served in what I can only describe as an overly deliberate peasant fare fashion, as though to shout to the world…”This isn’t a fancy restaurant! It’s not snobby! It’s just everyman’s grub!” Everyman’s grub at $50+ per person easy.

The dessert however was delicious; Kurt Timmermeister’s triple cream with squash conserve and cookies. The combination of the sweet and savory was a delightful end to an entertaining, if not wholly satisfying dinner.

Enjoying a girl’s weekend to myself I wanted to create something similar, but with a bit more of a nod to Summer’s arrival. The result?

A traditional shortbread cookie, topped with a wedge of Saint Andre’s French cow’s milk cheese, and finished with a rhubarb compote. Serve this as the perfect end to a dinner party, with a crisp, white wine.

Now THAT is something worth returning the Zipcar late for.

Shortbread topped with a Wedge of Triple Cream, Finished with a Rhubarb Compote

Makes 16, 2″ morsels of deliciousness

Rhubarb Compote

Makes about 2 cups, so you’ll have lots extra but it’s delicious used on ice cream, as a marinade for chicken, or served with crackers and cheese.

1 pound rhubarb, stalks only, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until rhubarb is very tender and resembling a rustic jam. Remove the vanilla bean and allow to cool completely. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to four days.


3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp orange zest
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.In a mixer, preferably your Kitchen Aid, combine the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the mint and orange zest, and gently blend. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt, and mix until well blended and forming a dough. Give the dough a knead or two to fully assemble into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten to about 2 inches thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

2.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Press the dough into a lightly greased 8×8 baking dish, making as flat and even as possible. Prick in a decorative pattern with a fork.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until dough begins to brown at the edges. Cool for 2 minutes and then cut into squares. Once cool completely remove from pan and set on serving platter.


Assemble the cooled short breads on a plate, allowing one to two inches of room in between each. Top each with a slightly smaller piece of triple creme cheese. HINT: In order to get a really clean cut of the cheese, freeze it for 15-20 minutes and use a knife that has been run under hot water. If you follow this technique you’ll just want to allow enough time for the cheese to come to room temperature after it’s been cut and assembled; about 30 minutes. Top with dollop of the rhubarb compote. Enjoy!


Awaiting the rhubarb compote


Filed under Desserts, Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized

Mama Knows Best: Molasses Cookies


Worlds Best Molasses Cookies

World's Best Molasses Cookies


I like to think of myself as moderately successful adult. I own a house, I have a career I’m proud of, I contribute to my 401k, and I even floss most nights. No matter what though, regardless of how grown up we think we are, there are times when you just want your Mama to swoop in and save the day. This past week was one of those times for me. Lucky enough, she had scheduled a trip out from Boston already, so I was in luck.

It was a wonderful visit, complete with staying up late giggling, charging around the park solving the world’s problems, and of course, lots of incredible food.

These cookies are undoubtedly the absolute best. They are soft and chewy and when you take your first bite you get a little explosion of molasses and ginger. They travel beautifully and also make fantastic gifts. And the raw dough? To die for.

If you make no other recipe from Shut Up and Cook..make these. I promise, you won’t regret it.

World’s Best Molasses Cookies

1 cup sugar + more for rolling dough in

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

3/4 cup butter

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp cloves

3/4 tsp ginger

  1. Combine first four ingredients.
  2. Sift in remaining dry ingredients and stir well.
  3. Cover bowl with Saran wrap and chill 1/2 hour or up to 24 hours.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Roll dough into golf-ball size and roll in sugar.
  6. Place on un-greased cookie sheet about two to three inches apart (little balls look like they won’t expand, but they will!)
  7. Cook 8-10 minutes until flattened and just slightly browning (you can modify cooking time pending if you like a chewier or crunchier cookie)
  8. Enjoy!


Filed under Desserts

Perfect New England Pumpkin Pie

There’s an age old expression, “You can take the girl out of the East Coast, but you can’t take the East Coast out of the girl.”*

Having lived in Seattle for the last five years there is lots that I love about it here. I love the mountains, I love the job market, I love the people, I love the polar fleece (except at nice restaurants…why on earth do NW folks think that’s okay??). But there are times when I miss the East Coast and all its straightforwardness, its bluntness, its unapologetic attitude, and its history. As much as I think I’ve become a “west coaster” I recently had someone interrupt me mid-conversation to ask where I’m from. When I said, “East Coast….well, outside of Boston,” they gave that all-knowing little exhale of breath and said, almost sympathetically, “that explains it.”

I also miss the food. If you’re a regular reader of Shut Up and Cook you’ll know there are just certain things you can’t get out in Seattle like you can back East. There are no fried clams, no chicken finger subs (no good subs for that matter period), no good duck choo chee, and no good chicken pies.

So this Monday night, as the days get darker earlier, and the wind whips around outside,  I found myself missing the East Coast just a little bit more than usual. And nothing is more East Coast than good ‘ol fashioned Perfect New England Pumpkin Pie.

If you’re afraid of making pies…don’t be. They aren’t as hard as you think they are, and people will be so impressed you made a pie from scratch you’ll already have bonus points at the outset. Plus…pie comes at the end of dinner…which usually means the end of a wine bottle (or three)…so everything tastes good. Particularly a pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon custard baked in a perfectly flaky, buttery crust. The secret ingredient here is just a touch of maple syrup…and it does make a difference.

Make this when you’re missing those up tight-East Coasters, their pearls, and their judgment. Because admit it, sometimes you do.

Perfect New England Pumpkin Pie

FLAKY PASTRY (from my Grandmother’s kitchen on Cape Cod)

Makes 2 doughs, top and bottom, enough for 4 pumpkin pies

4 C Flour

1 3/4 C Shortening

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 C ice cold water

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tsp salt

1 Egg

Mix shortening and dry ingredients together.  In small bowl, beat water, egg and vinegar together. Add to dry

“goop”  (her words, not mine). Blend w/fork till everything is moistened.

Pie Dough

Pie Dough

W/ hands, mold dough into 4 balls.

Wrap in good old fashioned wax paper and chill 15 minutes or more.

Roll out for crust and proceed with appropriate pie making precautions.

PUMPKIN PIE (adapted from the Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook, Mary Mason Campbell 1968)

Makes enough for 1 pumpkin pie

Have ready an unbaked 9″ pastry shell w/ high crimped edges.

Mix in bowl:

1 1/2 C pumpkin cooked or canned (be sure to get the unseasoned, unflavored kind if you go the canned route)

1/3 C brown sugar

1/4 C white sugar

1 TB Vermont Maple Syrup, no other

1/2 Tsp salt

1 1/2 Tsp ginger powder

1 Tsp cinnamon

1/2 Tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 Tsp powdered cloves

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1/ 1/2 C cream

Pie Filling

Pie Filling

Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake on one level up from botton rack in hot oven (400) 50-60 minutes until knife point inserted comes out clean. At about 20 minutes, if necessary, add a bit of foil around the crust so it doesn’t brown too much. You can pull the foil off to finish the crust to a nice golden brown in the last ten minutes.

Enjoy with black coffee and a bit of homemade whipped cream flavored with nutmeg.

Pumpkin Pie

Voila! (Sorry the picture is crappy...I promise it was beautiful in person)

*Okay…perhaps it’s more like a 5-minute old expression, but it’s true.


Filed under Desserts, Seasonal Cooking

Get baking…get running: Lavender Shortbreads

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

I am a painfully dependable person. If I’m part of your life you can basically be guaranteed that:

  • I will always be 5 minutes early, and at inopportune times will gently lecture about the importance of punctuality.
  • I will always apologize for the state of my house, no matter how clean or dirty.
  • I will always be up for late night snacks that include champagne (think nachos + champagne, mac and cheese + champagne, fish tacos + champagne)
  • I will always send a Thank You card, although I must confess that I’ve translated the year-long window that applies to wedding presents to ALL thank you cards. (Don’t worry Topher…yours is in the mail!)
  • And lastly, each fall,  I will become overcome with the need to get baking and get running. Admittedly, the latter is largely a means to an end for the former since I truly HATE running, but hey, it works.

And so, this weekend, itching to get butter melting, and my Kitchen Aid whirring, I also decided to get my arse moving.

With a few half marathons under my belt and no love lost… my cousin Margot and I have decided to become elite 10-Kers. that’s right folks…watch out. The Malarkey girls are in action.

First stop…Lavender Shortbreads.

These are just as delicious as they sound and make lovely gifts or house-warming presents. Pending on your lavender lust, you can add more or less. Serve these with afternoon tea and be impressed with just how cultured and sophisticated you are.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Makes a dozen cookies, can easily be doubled or even quadrupled.


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lavender (more or less, pending on taste)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a mixer, preferably your Kitchen Aid, combine the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, mint, and orange zest, and gently blend. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt, and mix until well blended and forming a dough. Give the dough a knead or two to fully assemble into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten to about 2 inches thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shaped with cookies cutters, or a small, round glass. Place on ungreased cookie sheets.
    Rolled Dough Cut Dough
  3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until cookies begin to brown at the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from


Filed under Desserts, Uncategorized