Like on facebook Follow on Twitter Subscribe to Posts! View Instagram Feed Pastry Affair on Pinterest
RECENT POSTS




subscribe
Subscribe to posts! Connect on facebook! View flickr page! Add to google reader!

To receive RSS updates
Click here
subscribe via email
Sunday
Feb092014

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

My life has been full of simple pleasures lately. Dunking a few Oreos in my weekend cup of freshly ground coffee. A night spent out at the movies, stashing a small snack in my coat pocket (don't pretend you haven't done it). An expensive plate of sushi because life is too short not to enjoy good food. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany a simple spaghetti weeknight dinner.

The pleasures may be small, but together they form a contented moment in time.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti Chocolate Almond Biscotti Chocolate Almond Biscotti

As a first year teacher, I don't have a lot of time to myself. My days are filled with teaching, my afternoons with grading, and my evenings with lesson planning. In the last few months, I have spent most of my time cooped up in my apartment, partly due to the workload, partly due to the frigid, unforgiving weather. These simple pleasures often provide a bright spot of light to an otherwise normal day. Simple, yes, but they add the right level of spice.

Treating yourself comes in many forms. How have you treated yourself today?

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Biscotti is one of the small pleasures I enjoyed last weekend. Biscotti is a simple dessert, though it often appears more complex than it is. The word "biscotti" means twice cooked and that is precisely what these cookies are. Cookies are baked up as a "loaf" before they are sliced, laid on their sides, and baked once more. As the baker, you have the control over how soft or crisp these cookies become, adapting them precisely to your taste.

Dipped in coffee, tea, or a large glass of milk, these cookies are happiness in its pure and simple form.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Chocolate Almond Biscotti are crisp and best enjoy while dunked into your favorite beverage. Cocoa powder provides a deep chocolate flavor to the cookies while toasted almonds give them their crunch. A light chocolate drizzle helps to set the cookies off, providing just the right amount of decadence. Whether enjoyed during a stolen moment in the morning or as an afternoon snack, these biscotti bring about a sweet moment to be savored.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb022014

Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins

Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins

I feel restless. My legs want to run when I need to stand still. My mind wanders when I need it to stay here, in this moment. My heart begins to stray when I give it a minute of rest. These disparate emotions become exhausting, pulling me one direction and then the next, placing me at odds with myself.

I think of summer and sunlight and grass between my toes when I look at snow drifts taller than myself outside my bedroom window. I wonder why I live in a place where the winter air physically hurts my face. I dream of running away to Europe, drinking wine and eating cheese, when I permit myself a moment to watch an old episode of No Reservations. I try to imagine what it would be like to actually have free time while I'm at school on a Friday night at 5:30 pm grading papers.

Restless, restless, restless.

Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins

To be truthful, I didn't expect much from these muffins. They were more of a last minute idea, a product of restlessness, than a thoughtful intention. A few forgotten bananas on the counter met some buckwheat flour hidden away in the back of the cupboard. I threw in a handful of cacao nibs as an afterthought, a snack food I recently bought and found too bitter to eat on its own.

When the comforting scent of baking muffins filled the air, I began to think that I may have judged these muffins too soon. In the end, they taste a little like banana bread, but can also hold their own as something unique. While the cacao nibs were too bitter by themselves, in the muffins they lose their bitter tones, transforming into something else entirely. A little like chocolate, perhaps, but with the addictive texture of walnuts.

I ate a dozen over the course of a week (and I would have eaten more if there hadn't been another muffin lover in the house). I may not have believed these muffins would be much in the beginning, but they became something memorable in the end.

Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins

Banana Cacao Nib Buckwheat Muffins are a comfort food for breakfast or dessert. The flavors of banana, cacao, and the nuttiness of buckwheat come together in these muffins. The color may appear dark, as if they are made from cocoa powder, but the shade of brown comes solely from the buckwheat flour and a touch of espresso powder. I enjoyed these with a mug of hot chocolate, to feed the soul while giving it warmth.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan262014

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread

The wind is blowing outside my window with a fierceness only Mother Nature herself could bring. Another blizzard has descended, matching the winds of last Wednesday and the snow of last weekend. If the nine foot snow drift that appeared outside of my bedroom window this morning is any indication, it was only proper to spend the day wrapped up in sweaters and hiding under blankets. This winter, in particular, has been one of hot cocoa and warm ovens.

How could you have it any other way?

Honey Oat Bread
Honey Oat Bread

One of the dearest ways to spend a Sunday morning for me is baking bread. After the coffee has been brewed, I slowly pull the flour out of the cupboard and the yeast off the shelf, moving at the speed of the weekend. The morning may be filled with yawns (and flour may pepper the sides of my pajama pants), but bread is an act of patience and a practice in meditation. There can be no rush, for bread grows at its own pace, feeling out the air around it and reacting accordingly. It is this nature of bread, this uncontrollable spirit, that keeps me coming back time and again.

The scent of yeast and the feel of dough beneath my fingers is irreplaceable.

Honey Oat Bread

Honey and oatmeal are a classic comfort food combination, perfect for giving warmth to a wintery day. When approaching this bread, I wanted to find a way to make the oats a significant portion of the bread, lending a pronounced flavor to the final loaf. To do so, I ground up the oatmeal flakes in a food processor until they resembled flour, which working surprisingly well. The bread has a hint of honey, providing a pure sweetness which complements a spread of jam and acts as a spoon for potatoes and gravy.

It may be cold outside, but it is warm in my kitchen.

Honey Oat Bread

Honey Oat Bread is a standard dinner table bread. The subtlety of oats and honey allow the bread to be served with both sweet and savory foods. Before baking, the bread is brushed with warm honey and sprinkled with oats. When it emerges from the oven, the top takes on a golden color. If golden were a flavor, this bread would certainly match it. The honey soaked bites and toasted oats become the icing on the cake, so to speak. The bread keeps well for several days, bringing an element of joy to your favorite dishes.

Click to read more ...