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Double the Desserts

Sorry again for the delay. My previously-mentioned project that I’m working on plus other responsibilities have me weighed down at the moment. I’m gloriously close to getting fairly back to normal… but not quite there yet. So, as a peace offering, enjoy the last two desserts made here in Mama Goertz’s kitchen.

From a week and a half ago: coffee brandy crème brûlée.

This recipe comes, of course, from my huge desserts cookbook, and I’ve been wanting to try it pretty much since I bought the book. It must be a recipe that likes to make me wait because I definitely had aimed at making it for Tuesday two weeks ago… And didn’t end up finishing it until the following Monday. Whoops.

It was a cool recipe since it’s just your basic crème brûlée with some instant coffee granules (the ONLY use I have for instant coffee, I’m snobbishly sad to say) and brandy mixed in. The biggest difference for me was the top crust – it’s made from brown sugar, not regular ol’ granulated! That definitely made a differently-flavored, more mellow-tasting crust. As with many crème brûlées, make sure to start this one a day early, as it needs to chill overnight to set up completely.

Dessert número dos: cranberry orange scones!

I’d never made scones before and was pleasantly surprised to see how easy they are to make. The recipe I used has you put the dough together by hand, although several reviewers recommend you just use a food processor, but I still found it quick and easy the old-fashioned way. I’m really on a mission to find a recipe I like as much as the one Starbucks uses for their scones, so I don’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money on silly scones. While this one doesn’t taste like theirs, it sure is delicious anyway, so who cares?

This weekend should be interesting as I’m at a complete loss as to what to make. Chocolate-y? Fruity? Nutty? All three? None of the above? I just can’t decide. I guess time will tell. And we’ll both just have to wait and see what happens. 🙂

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Today’s blog post: A novel

Phew. So after several days of not much to write about, I have an overabundance of things to share, not the least of which is this week’s dessert. But you’re going to have to wait for that because I’ve got other things to say first (*laughs malevolently*).

First, this week was kind of tough. Between Maciek still taking his short catnaps during the day and James working crazy-long hours because of a big push a work and me not getting enough sleep because I’d try to do as much as I could in the evenings after Maciek went to sleep, I was starting to go a little nuts. I’ve really dedicated myself to staying at home (or at the most, venturing out to one Grandma’s house or the other) as much as I can so Maciek could have a stable sleeping environment – and I have to say, it’s definitely paid off. Since I’ve last written about his sleeping habits (which is no true indication of how often I actually think about his sleeping habits, seeing as how I eat, sleep, and breathe thinking about how he sleeps), we’ve made progress. I can now put Maciek to sleep and then set him down (gasp!) in his crib, every time. This has given me a little more time to get things done, although it really is just a little bit – he won’t sleep longer than 35 minutes at a time. It’s INSANE. I’ve often wondered how wee little Maciek would do in the wild; he doesn’t even have the basic instinct to sleep. How is that? I thought every living creature knew to regenerate itself when needed! No. Not Maciek. But like I said, I can now set him down. I have to remind myself we are constantly making progress.

But then, today, he did something WONDERFUL. You see, when he wakes up after 35 minutes, he’s never actually fully rested. I always try to coax him back to sleep but somehow it fails every time. Even if I pick him up and put him to sleep, he’ll wake up a few minutes after I set him back down. Sad times. However, this morning I set him down for his morning nap as usual and he slept his usual 45 minutes (his one morning nap is somehow longer than his other naps. Go figure.) and then woke up. The difference was that *this* time, two of my coaxing tries were enough to get him to go back to sleep. FOR ANOTHER 45-50 MINUTES. I couldn’t believe it! It was très exciting and literally made my whole day.

Who, me? Not sleep? Bah!
Cute kid.

At this point I should say that I realize that probably NO ONE else finds this as exciting as I do, but to a sleep-deprived, at her wits’-end Mama, this kind of stuff is golden. And it’s my blog, so nanny-nanny-boo-boo and all that.

Secondly, I am so super excited to have purchased two wonderful, glorious new dessert cookbooks. One is all about pretty and special cakes (although the author clearly uses that term loosely, seeing as how the book has cupcakes and tarts also) and the other has got to be the mother of all dessert cookbooks. Honestly. I’m pretty sure this thing is heavier than my college circuits textbooks, and that’s saying something. If I get my act together, I’ll definitely post a picture of it. It’s crazy. In any case, I’m so excited because these books represent an endless abyss of new dessert ideas. I’m pretty sure that between the two of them, I could bake for the rest of my life and never run out of recipes. Awesome.

Aaaaaand that’s about it. So it’s been a pretty good weekend to cap off a sometimes-frustrating week. ‘Til next time!

What? What dessert? Oh, you mean the dessert I make every weekend? What? That dessert? Ok, fine. 🙂 Here it is. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with… Bananas Foster!

James helping me spoon up deliciousness.

Served over vanilla ice cream.

So delicious you have no idea.

I was tipped off to this week’s dessert when my mother-in-law sent me a link to a blog she and my sister-in-law absolutely love. I’d never checked it out before, but I clicked on the link to see what it looked like – and the Bananas Foster caught my eye. I immediately found myself thinking, “Man, I wish I had an excuse to make this dessert some time. Oh WAIT. I write a blog about desserts. Sweet! (no pun intended (ok, maybe a little)).” In an effort to cut down on the novel I’ve already written today, I’ll let you check out the full recipe here, but suffice it to say that this thing has copious amounts of butter, brown sugar, pecans, and rum (and fire!) and is absolutely scrumptious.

Next week, however, I think I’ll go back to baking. As awesome and low-key as these last two desserts have been, I’ve really missed getting my kitchen all floury and spiking up my AC bills by leaving the oven on and really getting into some good old-fashioned baking. So stay tuned for next week’s BAKED dessert. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Frozen-y Goodness

Maciek, my mom, my mother-in-law, and I went shopping today. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, factor in 107-degree heat, a 3-month-old baby, and tax-free weekend and you’ll understand our tremendous undertaking. All in all, it was a pretty successful trip, considering the crowds of people pressing in on you and the heat O-pressing you (we went to an outdoor outlet mall thingy. Read: no walking around a huge, air-conditioned Wal-Mart, people. Everyone was walking into random stores just to inhale some cooler-by-35-degrees air before continuing on to their next real stop. And yes, I do enjoy writing incredibly long and rambly parentheses-asides.)

After checking out the necessary stores – Bath & Body Works and Carter’s for me these days – we took a seat outside a buzzing Starbucks with some cool drinks and a piece of coffee cake to split. And then, I saw THIS:

20110819-114902.jpg

Well, not exactly that. I saw a person eating an instance of that. But you get the point.

In any case, I got EXCITED. I’ve seen several ads and Groupons and whatnots for a place in Austin called Bananarchy which pretty much exclusively makes these wonders. Due to my laziness in heading anywhere too south of my neck of the woods, I’ve never actually tried them out, although I’ve dreamed of doing so for a while. So imagine my exhilaration when I found out that here, a mere 100 feet away from me, was the opportunity to taste a real-life frozen banana.

(I should point out here that both my mother-in-law and later James told me that they used to make these treats allll the time back in the day. Which completely makes sense. It’s not that complicated of a dessert after all. I guess I’m too easily caught up in good marketing so I was convinced that only big, smart companies can make stuff like this, not us lowly peons. Dur, me, it’s a frozen banana covered in chocolate and potentially a topping. Not that difficult. But this is all besides the point.)

So into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory we went. And let me tell you, for a true choco-dessert-aholic like me, this is a dangerous place to be. My mom had to literally restrain me from buying a handful of $2 truffles to take home. I contented myself with my frozen banana (but MOM! They also had frozen, chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick! How could that go wrong?!) and a key-lime caramel apple to take home to my hard-working breadwinner.

In the end, I have to say I was not as wowed by the frozen banana as I thought I would be. I think it’s because it was more difficult to bite into than I was expecting, so I ended up biting off chocolate, eating that separately, and then trying to simultaneously warm up and bite off pieces of banana (a difficult task). It got me thinking, however, about the brilliant, BRILLIANT idea of combining fruit and chocolate to begin with, with adding frozen-ness being the frosting on the cake (or fruit, I guess) for climates like ours. So I think I’ll have to fiddle with this amazing mix of fruity, chocolaty, frozen yumminess in a future post.

Not this weekend, though. I’ve already got plans for this weekend. Mwuhahahaha. Stay tuned for the first weekend dessert post!