Cashew Turtles

Cashew Turtle

“Yolande was fitting the tea cozy over the pot when I came in. There were cups on the table. I knew where her cookie plates lived, so I got one down and put my offerings on it: chocolate chip hazelnut, Jamdandies, Cashew Turtles, plus butterscotch brownies and half a dozen muffins.”
-Sunshine

Ending an extended period of experimentation and non-blog related baking, my renewed enthusiasm to tackle the forty-some remaining recipes in Sunshine has coincided perfectly with an unseasonable late heatwave. With such rare weather it seems ungrateful to blow the dust off the AC knob and turn on the oven. A day like this calls for something sweet, simple, and cool. A day like this is for making Cashew Turtles. Continue reading Cashew Turtles

Bran and Raisin Muffins

Bran and Raisin Muffins

His eyes were wandering to the muffin racks. There were bran raisin and oatmeal applesauce allspice waiting to go into the cases up front.
“Have one for the road,” I said.
“Thanks,” he said. He took two.
-Sunshine

If I had taken a look at this list at the start of this mad endeavor, I wouldn’t have thought that the baked good featured on my (second) birthday would be Bran and Raisin Muffins. Easily the least cool, least decadent of all the possible pastries. Bran and Raisin Muffins aren’t even cool next to other muffins. But so goes (my) life. And the force that is Muffin Season cannot be denied. Besides–these are pretty good for bran muffins. Continue reading Bran and Raisin Muffins

Oatmeal Applesauce Allspice Muffins

Oatmeal Applesauce Allspice Muffins

His eyes were wandering to the muffin racks. There were bran raisin and oatmeal applesauce allspice waiting to go into the cases up front. “Have one for the road,” I said.
“Thanks,” he said. He took two.
-Sunshine

Muffin season means morning muffin posts! Next on the muffin rack: Oatmeal Applesauce Allspice. It’s impossible not to get excited for October when you take the best flavors from an orchard and mix it with peppery allspice. And like Pumpkin Muffins, some of the oil is replaced with cooked produce–apples in this case. And since these muffins use whole wheat flour and oatmeal…these might even be classified as–dare I say it?– “healthy”.

But not to worry! They don’t taste like you sucked the goodness out of them. I first recipe I tried didn’t use any oil and while those muffins made a pretty good breakfast, the texture of this version with just 3 tablespoons (over 12 muffins, mind you) is clearly superior. And for an extra boost of decadence there’s the butter-brown sugar topping, which are the two main ingredients in caramel and toffee and happiness. Don’t worry, you’re in good flour-dusted hands. Continue reading Oatmeal Applesauce Allspice Muffins

Jamdandies the Dandyjams Edition

“Yolande was fitting the tea cozy over the pot when I came in. There were cups on the table. I knew where her cookie plates lived, so I got one down and put my offerings on it: chocolate chip hazelnut, Jamdandies, Cashew Turtles, plus butterscotch brownies and half a dozen muffins.”
– Sunshine

For the inaugural baked good, a lot of friends and family were eager to encourage a hobby that would keep them in sugary treats for months. Most still have no idea (and no intention of understanding) what “that book” is about, but flour and butter and sugar is the universal sign for yum, which means for this first post, I have lots of help.

My friend Laura and my cousin Jo want to help me kick start this. Jo’s cuter-than-a-button-covered-in-jam daughter would be sampling the results so I wanted to start with something kid and fun-friendly. The First Dessert? *drumroll* Jamdandies.

It’s also one of the Class 4 Don’t Know What It Is desserts, which allows me to play around a little. As I’ll be doing this a lot, I’ve come up with some “rules”.

The Kinda Incontrovertible Tenants of Making Up Recipes:

1. It must be delicious.

This is really an all-encompassing life rule.

2. It shouldn’t be too fussy.

In theory, these are recipes that one person could make for a whole coffeehouse. Individual chocolate typography is not going to happen.

3. From scratch as often as possible.

If you make it yourself, it’s going to be better. Icing from a jar will taste like icing from a jar. That said, store bought jam or vanilla extract is much more practical than starting the canning process or 2 months of staring at a vanilla bean in a jar (in a dark cupboard).

4. WWSD (What Would Sunshine Do?)

The first and last resort question of every recipe.

 So with those tenants firmly in mind, what in a baker’s dozen is a Jamdandy?

My one-pack-a-day elementary school cookie Judging by the name and the contextual quote, it’s a jam-related cookie. Since Sunshine is one of those practical baker types, I’m thinking it’s her version of a fancy-fied jam-related cookie–which to me refers to something in the family of those thumbprint jam shortbread Knott’s Berry Farm staples. Dandifying this childhood classic can really only happen in two places: the ingredients or the appearance. Let’s go with both ‘cuz why not?

Cleaner and smaller is as much effort as a coffeehouse baker would go through to inject class into a cookie. Here’s where it gets kid-friendly: tiny cookie cutters!

 

Put back the candy cane and pumpkin.
Dug out some fancy shapes from the back of the cupboard.

Since my usual method of baking cookies involves blobs and chunks and impatience, these things have not seen the light of day since I bought them. There was quite a bit of box and bag opening to find ’em pretty as a picture with their stickers still on, no dough stuck under the metal lip, no corners bent out of place.

Shortbread is already pretty fancy, but there are ways to kick it up a notch. For the cookies you can play with the dough AND the jam. Combo recommendations: Raspberry Jam with Vanilla Bean Cookies, Cherry Jam with Almond Extract Cookies, and Blueberry Ginger Jam with plain Shortbread. So here we go!

Jamdandies: Attempt 1

Adapted from the Food Network

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup powdered sugar (for decoration)

For Raspberry Vanilla Bean
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod
1/3 cup raspberry jam

For Cherry Almond
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup cherry jam

For Blueberry Ginger (or other Fancy Jam)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup blueberry ginger jam

Ingredients sans vanila Continue reading Jamdandies the Dandyjams Edition