Friday, April 24, 2015

[Cookie 106] Apple-Cherry Crumble Bars

Ok, so let's talk about crumbles.  Actually, before we talk about that, let's get some clarifications out of the way.  A crumble is not a cobbler, which is not a crisp either.  Now, they're all damn good, that's for sure, and they all have fruit underneath some kind of pastry topping, but that's where the similarities end.  And up until right now, I never couldn't differentiate them for the life of me.  I knew that I likes the ones that had a streusel-like topping, but you know, WORDS, definitions, names--screw em!  I could never remember which was which.  So here's the low-down:

Cobblers have a biscuit topping.  Not so into those, to be honest.  I mean, if you put one in front of me, I'm not going to NOT eat it, but if I have a choice, I'm going the crunchier, crumblier route.  Apparently cobblers can also be made with a cake batter or cookie dough crust, but that just sounds fucked up to me.  Again, I would eat it if you presented it to me, but I'd be skeptical.  Why combine so many delicious desserts?? I want one of everything, separately.

Crumbles are very similar to crisps.  They both got that baller streusel-ish topping, which is clearly better than a biscuit topping, I mean come on.  But there is a finer difference between these two.  CRISPS GOT THEM OATS IN EM! And that, my friends, is the clincher, for me at least.  I'm a crunchy, hippie-dippy type, so anything with whole grains and some toothiness to it will always get my vote.  

Now, I got all these great details from this informative post on the Kitchn, so of course I'm not liable if they're incorrect and lose you a trivia contest.  But it makes sense to me.  Oats are crispy! And guess what? This recipe has oats in it, but they call it an Apple-Cherry Crumble Bar! Better reevaluate, Martha!

Regardless, these are pretty bomb, especially if you're into crisps, crumbles, or even cobblers.  The nicest part is the filling though.  It's a combination of dried apples and cherries simmered in apple cider.  Pretty perfect for an blustery autumn day, which is why I am writing about it in April (hey, this one goes out to you, southern-hemispherers!)

The recipe is easy, hearty, and tasty.  No promises though on how tasty, since I made it about a year and a half ago and I have a really shitty memory.  Sorry! I don't have any horrible memories of throwing up after eating it, so there's that.  I've reread the recipe and baked it all again in my mind, and it tastes mentally delicious.  So go for it! Git bakin' :)

Apple-Cherry Crumble Bars
Makes 2 dozen


  • 3 cups dried apples, about 7 ounces
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, about 4 1/2 ounces
  • 1 3/4 cups apple cider
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for dish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Simmer apples, cherries, and cider in a covered saucepan, stirring occasionally, until fruits are softened and plump, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Let cool.
  2. Coarsely chop fruit. Combine with 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and reserved cooking liquid.
  3. Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, salt, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbs range in size from peas to gum balls. Press 4 cups of oat mixture into bottom of prepared dish. Spread fruit filling on top, leaving a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top.
  4. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool in dish on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

{End Results}
Baking Difficulty: 2/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 3/5 (If you can't find dried cherries, try cranberries; if you can't find dried apples, don't make these!)
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 1/5 (When has a crumble ever been beautiful?)
Is it worth it?: Ya

Drink: Hot toddy would be nice
Activity: Crumble some crisps for your local cobbler

Friday, April 17, 2015

[Cookie 105] Vanilla-Bean Spritz Wreaths

I'm going to blow your mind right now.


THIS IS MY SECOND POST IN 2 HOURS! After nearly a year and a half of NOTHING! I go zero to a hundred! Can someone give me an award? Something like an Oscar, something extremely self-congratulatory and undeserved.  Yeah, thanks!

And get this, I'm actually going to do a post.  About a cookie.  That I baked a year and a half ago.  Ha.  Let's see how this goes.

Let me preface this by explaining why I have the sudden urge to get back on my cookie soap box and blather on about cookies to an audience of probably 0 readers.  Well, every so often I come back to this blog and read through old posts.  Ya know, just to shine up my ol' ego and inflate my head a little about how funny, charming, smart, and all around fantastic I am.  And then I get this sudden urge to start the blog up again and, DARE I SAY IT, finish the quest.  Well, tonight was one of those nights.  And here I am, blogging like the lazy egomaniac that I am.

Actually, if you look back to my last legit cookie post, you'll see I had the same idea as I do now.  And I actually baked up 2 more recipes after those Pecan Logs, and never posted them.  Why? Because my excitement to blog revved up and died in the time it takes to write exactly one blog post, and then I got bored.  But you know, I'm going to try to do this again.  I know.  Empty promises.  I don't expect a single one of you to believe me, or care. But if you are still crazy enough to follow this blog, let me dedicate this cookie to you.

Don't be offended that it's not a fantastic cookie that I'm dedicating to you though.  Sorry! Don't blame me bish, I didn't write The Book! But it's an expensive cookie, so there's that.  It calls for real deal vanilla beans and the name for the cookie comes from the German word "spritzen" which means "to squirt"--if that's not a compliment, I don't know what is! Take what you can get.

So let's get down to business.  From what I can remember, these cookies were simple to make and tasted like a nice vanilla shortbread with a hint of cinnamon.  I would have baked them sooner, but put it off thinking I would one day actually buy a cookie press like the recipe requests.  But then I remembered who I am, and what my bank account looks like, I accepted the fact that that was a reality I was never going to face.  So I just rolled out the dough and used a cookie cutter, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.  But I used a tooth-shaped cookie cutter, not like a normal person.  I love this cookie cutter, but baking a shortbread with cinnamon and vanilla bean flecks into the shape of a tooth isn't really a great food styling choice.  Rotten teeth anyone?

Sorry, I'm really not sellin' this one, am I? To be honest, it was sort of a let down.  I was expecting a super vanilla-y flavor, what with the 2 whole vanilla beans that cost an arm and a leg, but it ended up just tasting like a plain shortbread.  Like, if you asked me to try it blindfolded, I'd assume there was maybe a teaspoon of vanilla extract in it, but that's it.  Not worth the $10 for the whole beans!

$10 worth of vanilla beans, like what?!

In conclusion, these cookies are ok but sorta lie on the "who cares" side of things.  Maybe if I had a fancy cookie press I could make them into the shape of that Oscar trophy I deserve, and then they would also taste better (because victory is sweet, get it??).

I got one more cookie to post, which I baked a year and a half ago, and then I have to actually crack open The Book and make some more.  Aren't you excited we are on this ancient, forgotten adventure again? I know I am! xoxo

Vanilla-Bean Spritz Wreaths
Makes about 5 dozen


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  2. Beat vanilla seeds and 1 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until incorporated, about 3 minutes (sugar will clump together slightly). Add butter, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat just until smooth.
  3. Divide dough into 3 portions. Pack 1 portion into a cookie press fitted with wreath disk (cover remaining portions with an inverted bowl or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before using), and press shapes about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake until edges are just golden, 9 to 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon with remaining 4 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle over hot cookies. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Repeat. Cookies can be stored in a single layer in airtight containers up to 4 days.

{End Results}
Baking Difficulty: 1/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 2/5 (because of the spency vanilla beans and the stupid cookie press)
Tastiness: 3/5
Attractiveness: 3/5
Is it worth it?: Meh

Drink: Milk, cuz them teeth look like they need it
Activity: Call 1-800-Dentist, today!

Return of the dead

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Oh hi.

This blog is pretty dead, but you never know! I could make a comeback!! I've been saying this for like, 3 years.  And I've made one or two feeble, brief, sad comebacks.  Right now I'm just trying to figure out how Bloglovin works, so I can see what the kids are up to these days.  Then I'll go back to the rock I'm hiding under.

But ya know, I've been busy lately! Not baking cookies, unfortunately, but working on my photography portfolio, becoming a freelance web designer/developer, and working in my studio.  So check those out, if you're interested.

And if you're really obsessed with me, follow my Instagram accounts.  Yes, that's plural.  I have a disturbing number of accounts.  Here's a quick breakdown: - My lifestyle photography account! This one has the prettiest pictures.
@fantasylawyer - My art account, where I post the artwork and artists that I'm inspired by (you can also follow me on here and here)
@zziee - My personal one (probably the weirdest and least accessible, but all are welcome!)
@donutdatabase - My attempt to document all the sleezy strip mall donut shops in Los Angeles!

Ok, that's the end of my personal plug.  Maybe one day I'll crack open THE BOOK (not the bible, fyi) and bake those crazy Chocolate-Pistachio cookies...

Until then, xoxo