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Sunday
Mar272011

Orange Scones

Orange Scones

I can't believe this is my 100th post. I've shared 100 recipes, 100 stories, and well over 100 photographs with you. It doesn't seem like it can be possible! I want to thank all of you for your advice, comments, and inspiration to keep finding new things to bake! Thanks for sticking around so long. You, dear reader, make sharing my life and recipes worthwhile.

To celebrate, I decided to tackle a pastry that has alluded me for a very long time—scones. I have never made a successful scone (this is my shameful secret). Some people are afraid of making macarons or croissants. I'm terrified of making scones. I tried to make chocolate chip scones (on more than one occasion), but they turned into inedible, tasteless rocks the second they popped out of the oven. I made pear scones that were so awful I could hardly stomach a bite. I tried buttermilk scones that were so dry even jam couldn't save them.

The list goes on.

Orange Scones

In my efforts to make an edible scone, I brushed up on the different types of recipes. I learned there are two different types of scones—the American scone and the English scone. The American scone tends to be larger, drier, and much sweeter than its European counterpart. The European scone is often light and flaky like a biscuit and barely sweetened. With my history of bone-dry scones, I thought the European method might be just the ticket for me.

I was right. This recipe right here produced my first successful scone. They aren't just edible; they taste fantastic. I've had two taste-testers ask me for the recipe already.

Consider my fear of scones conquered.

Orange Scones

These orange scones are bright and full of citrus flavor. The scone is moist, light, and flaky. I would say the texture is somewhere between a biscuit and American scone. The orange flavor really shines through on these scones. I would recommend glazing them because it helps to balance out the lightly sweetened scones. I think these scones are a little reminder that spring is on its way.

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Friday
Mar252011

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I am notoriously awful at hearing song lyrics correctly. I have become so good at mishearing lyrics, it's becoming something of an art form (or at least that's what I tell myself). Of course, I have no idea I'm hearing them wrong; it isn't until I sing them loud enough for others to hear do I become aware of this. Embarrassing? Yes. Humiliating? Just a bit. No one wants to be that person belting out the wrong words to a favorite song.

Let me give you a few examples. We'll start small.

Only a year ago did I learn the true lyrics to Prince's When Doves Cry. I've always heard "When the worlds collide" instead of "When Doves Cry." When Doves Cry may be the conclusion of the chorus and the name of the song, but my translation sounded so cool I didn't question it. The real lyrics are much more disappointing than my own interpretation, I think. Doves crying isn't nearly as awesome as entire worlds smashing into each other. In fact, this misheard imagery is what made me a Prince fan in the first place. Such is life.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

There was a commercial when I was very young featuring Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now. The song was used to sell glasses for the masses. They changed the lyrics from "I can see clearly now, I can see all obstacles in my way" to "I can see clearly now, I can see all opticals in my way." Clever advertising, but my small, undeveloped mind didn't notice this. It wasn't until I was singing this song in a car full of friends did someone point out that it wasn't opticals, but obstacles. It took me nearly 18 years to be corrected on that one. Once I actually thought about the lyrics, it seemed strange that Johnny Nash would be obsessed enough with eye health to include it in his songs.

Perhaps the most absurd misheard lyrics comes from One Republic's Apologize. Instead of "it's too late to apologize," I've always heard "it's too late to father a child." I kid you not. The first time I heard the song, these lyrics stopped me in my tracks. Too late to father a child? When is it ever too late to father a child? Why is the song called Apologize? Whenever the song played on the radio, I'd listen closely to the lyrics trying to find some context for this conclusion (of which there is none, by the way). I couldn't understand how this song was so popular despite the fact that it didn't make an ounce of sense. Eventually I brought my confusion about this up to a friend who set the record straight. To this day I struggle to hear the real lyrics whenever the song plays. It's too late to father a chiiiild, it's too laaate...

What are your best misheard lyrics?

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is my first foray into gluten-free foods and I'm not disappointed. These flourless peanut butter cookies are the ultimate peanut butter cookie. The peanut butter flavor is concentrated and intense and so good. Even without flour, these cookies hold together well and do not crumble. Because I am such a sucker for chocolate, I drizzled a little on top, but this step is completely optional; the cookies don't need anything extra to taste great. If you like peanut butter cookies, make this recipe instead (trust me on this one). With only four ingredients, these cookies are a snap to make.

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Wednesday
Mar232011

Devil's Food Cake

Devil's Food Cake

There is something to be said about a simple chocolate cake. No frills, no fuss, no mountains of too sweet buttercream to spoil the treat—just chocolate and cake.

Growing up, I didn't like chocolate. I didn't like the way it looked, the way it smelled, or the way it tasted. I avoided brownies, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate cake like the plague. I'd snub my nose at candy bars. On my birthday, I would insist on eating strawberry shortcakechocolate wasn't going to grace my special day. I was too cool for it and I wanted everyone to know it. Chocolate was the enemy.

Devil's Food Cake
Devil's Food Cake

On occasion, I would gobble down as many chocolate chip cookies as possible. I loved chocolate chip cookies. I was probably too naive to understand the brown spots were chocolate. Or, better yet, I knew they were chocolate but I had a tough girl I-don't-eat-no-chocolate image to uphold. I don't remember much from this stage in my life (perhaps I am blocking it from memory because I cannot fathom a life without chocolate), but this is what my mother tells me. And we must believe our mothers.

You can see my opinion on chocolate has certainly changed. Over 1/3 of the recipes on this website prominently feature chocolate as one of the main ingredients. I can't help myself. Chocolate is my vice; it corrupts me. I can't handle this level of decadence on my own, so I'm bringing you down with me.

I hope you don't mind.

Devil's Food Cake

This devil's food cake is the quintessential chocolate cake. It is dense and rich with chocolate. It is thick and sticks to the roof of your mouth. It is satisfying in the only way chocolate cake knows how. The frosting is a dark chocolate frosting. Made with brown sugar and unsweetened chocolate, it's dark, rich, and intense. This frosting isn't playing around. Combined with the devil's food cake, this is a lethal (and delicious) combination. You need this chocolate cake.

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