Birthday Cakes and Cookies, Oh My!

My mother requested a buttermilk cake with caramel frosting for her birthday, so I followed the Better Homes and Gardens recipe she sent me and made her one. The frosting had to be boiled and then beaten with a wooden spoon for 8–10 minutes, so it was not a quick cake to make. The frosting was a bit worrisome also as it was fairly thick, but once it cooled a little, I could pick it up with my fingers and mold it to the cake. I also followed the instructions and ran a warm metal spatula over it to smooth everything out.

I ran out of frosting before I could write Happy Birthday on it. As labor intensive as this cake was, it was a very good final product and I really liked the caramel frosting.

It was the Rosetown Ramblers 40th Anniversary and we had a big dance. I made cookies to celebrate.

I made the Family Sugar Cookie recipe from Home is Where the Eggs Are. I like the idea of having a family sugar cookie recipe, but this is not the one for me. Yeh uses almond flour to achieve a soft cookie. I didn’t like the speckles it left in the cookies, and it also clung to my teeth in a way I didn’t like. This recipe wasn’t a keeper, but I was very pleased as to how the cookies turned out.

Bunch-O-Garlic Prep

Some time in the last year or two, I switched from having garlic and ginger on hand to prepping them and freezing them. Up until this time, the process for garlic has involved me buying vacuum-packed garlic that has already been peeled, dropping it in the food processor, and then packing it into small-sized silicon ice cube trays to freeze.

As you might have guessed by this picture, the already peeled garlic hasn’t been available at WinCo the last few times I’ve been. I bought a bag of garlic heads and cue me doing a lot of garlic peeling.

That silicon tube garlic peeler works well enough that I’ve kept it around. It also works as a heat protector for my cast iron skillet handles.

Jam-Filled Sprinkle Cookies

These cookies are from Molly Yeh’s Home is Where the Eggs Are and when I saw the picture they immediately reminded me of the cookies that used to be served during coffee hour after church when I was a child. I don’t recall that those cookies were jam-filled but I do remember the sprinkles. I haven’t seen such cookies in years.

So, thanks to a three-day weekend, I made them. And let me tell you, these cookies are delicious! Plus they used up nearly all of the sprinkles that had been sitting around for years in my cooking tub.

Were they also a pain to make? Indeed. I prefer cookie recipes that I can either cut into bars, drop from a scoop, or slice from a log. This involved chilling dough and then rolling pieces into a ball, flattening, adding jam, carefully sealing, rolling into a ball again, rolling in sprinkles, carefully flattening with a glass, and then chilling again before baking.

So these won’t be an everyday cookie. But I did get a good tip to freeze the unbaked cookies and bake a few at a time. I’ve been freezing unbaked cookies, but I like the intentionality of freezing raw dough and then baking. Also, as the recipe notes, these do taste even better the next day.

Matt and I Make A Lot of Cookies

Plus some fudge.

Working my way through the America’s Test Kitchen Best Ever Christmas Cookies, we have Maple-Pecan Swirls, Lemon Snowflakes, and Vanilla Icebox Cookies. These were shipped off to far-flung locales, and given as presents.

I enjoy a good vanilla icebox cookie. I liked the subtle flavor of the maple-pecan swirls and the lemon bite of the snowflakes.

The fudge was a bit crumbly, but still good.

Soft Serve Attempt No. 1

I wanted dipped soft serve, so we drove across the bridge to the Dairy Queen in Vancouver. The North Portland Dairy Queen that was closest to us closed, so Washington is our closest option.

While waiting in line, I enjoyed watching the owner of this truck make his own parking spot. The DQ has parking lots on both sides of its building, but that wasn’t quite enough for this fellow.

Alas, they were out of dip, so we both got Blizzards. We will have to return another day.

My First Time at Gracie’s Apizza

I heard about this place while editing a blog post for my job. At Gracie’s Apizza, Craig Melillo makes 70 pies per night and when they are gone, he’s done. There are no more pies to be had.

This has always struck me as a very sane business model. Figure out what makes you enough money and just do that. Then stop.

I got the ricotta pie. Ricotta, provolone, mozz, young onions, heavy on the black pepper. Plus I opted into the greens. It was a little too heavy on the black pepper for me, but I’m willing to overlook that because the crust was so very good.

Sadly, one of the 70 pizzas fell on the ground as Craig was delivering mine. Poor pizza.

It took a bit to figure out the trick to actually getting to eat one of the pizzas. If you order on Wednesday, that’s when the orders open for the entire week. Choose your date and time, but be sure to show up because if you don’t show, you don’t get your money back.

In the category of what I did while waiting for my pizza, I read my newest letter from Sara, and texted her the good news that while the letter was marked postage due, no one made me pay any extra postage.

Sara pointed out that she weighed the letter and put on an extra stamp. There did seem to be enough postage. Perhaps they stamped it in errors and that’s why I didn’t have to pay.