When I was a kid my grandmother used to buy these wonderful gingersnaps at our local grocery store. I have no idea what the brand was but they came in brown bags. They were very crisp and thin with a really big ginger burn.
I've always loved those gingersnaps and wondered how they got that "burn" on the back of the tongue. I've tasted all kinds of ginger and none of it had quite that kick.
Here's a wonderful gingerbread recipe that claims descent from one used by George Washington's mother, Mary. The story goes that when the Marquis de Lafayette visited her after the American Revolution she served this wonderful spiked gingerbread to him, thus the name.
I'm not entirely sure how true that story is. The recipe does align with many traditional gingerbread recipes from the south
What an odd name: Defense Cookies. I've often wondered how this name came about and have never come up with an answer. This old recipe from the first edition of Charleston Receipts
is really just a type of Chocolate Chip Cookie, albeit a delicious one. Still, Defense Cookies, what does that mean?
Maybe they're a defense against hungry guests or family. They're certainly tasty and quick to
Imagine my consternation when I noticed people posting on Facebook about a cake called a "1-2-3 Cake" that utilizes a couple box mixes, some water, a coffee mug and a microwave. There's so much wrong with that combination it makes my head hurt!
But what really got me was when I mentioned the classic 1-2-3-4 Cake to these folks and they were completely puzzled. They thought this staple of th
Yes, it's been a long time between posts. During the holidays I was quite busy taking care of some dogs and afterwards I simply couldn't get back into the swing of baking. Turns out there was a good reason. I had a very nasty infection that finally landed me in the hospital for a week. No wonder I was feeling so out of sorts and tired!
But, we're back with a great new recipe. This Gooey Pea
Finding a decent doughnut recipe can be one of the most challenging adventures any home baker can undertake. You might be surprised at the number of doughnut recipes that have been tried in my kitchen that never made the cut for the blog. You'd probably be shocked at the number that never made it into the fryer at all but were dumped because of texture or rising problems. But, a little b
I love making treats for my dogs. With the seemingly endless recalls of treats due to contamination by everything from salmonella to melamine, it's nice to know what your best friend is consuming. These little "cinnamon buns" are easy and quick to make and our guys just love them.
Speaking of "our guys," we have become what is termed in the foster
community a "foster failure.
Sometimes more is better. That's especially true of brownies. If you've ever pondered whether you really want some nice chewy chocolate brownies or maybe some luscious vanilla flavored blondies, we have your solution - make both!
This recipe makes a double brownie. The bottom consists of a chewy chocolate layer topped with a wonderful vanilla and brown sugar blondie layer. If that isn't eno
What would you do if you could have a new cookie recipe every day of the year? Would you bake a batch each day? Would you wait for a special holiday?
With The Daily Cookie: 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of Your Life
by Anna Ginsberg (Andrews McNeel Publishing), you could do both. Of course, the holiday option might be a challenge since Ginsberg's book includes holidays, rememb
Olive oil has increasingly become a necessity in every kitchen. While traditional southern kitchens used to turn to vegetable oil (if somewhat healthy) or artery clogging lard, now we find olive oils being used more and more. Certainly, here at Sugar Pies we love using olive oil for sautes as well as in some baked goods (our Italian Olive Oil Cake). But olive oil can be wonderful as a stand a
Let's stop for a moment and consider one of the basic ingredients of almost all baking - butter. Now butter gets a bad rap from some people (we won't mention names) if it's not slathered on in some fancy French or Italian dish. If it's in a good old American, particularly Southern recipe, well that's a bad thing.
Prejudices aside, butter is integral to baking. It's needed to coat flour to
Van Morrison once sang: "She's as sweet as Tupelo honey. She's an angel of the first degree. She's as sweet as Tupelo honey. Just like honey from the bee."
Well, there's a restaurant I hear that's just about that sweet in Asheville, NC (one of my favorite places) called the Tupelo Honey Cafe. They have a great menu designed by Chef Brian Sonoskus a 2001 graduate of Johnson and Wales. He has
You'll really love this spice cookie with its one spice that tastes like
a whole palette of spices! It's perfect for getting ready for those cool Autumn nights. With a cup of spiced Chai tea you'll be in spice
Well, here it is the beginning of October and we've had a heat break for about a week in the desert! It's only been in the 90's. Unfortunately, our weather report
Beautiful red and orange frosting highlight this delicious
cookie that hides maple creme inside!
It's September here in the desert and the temperatures have managed to dip into the low to mid 90's! Yes, this is what Autumn feels like in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.
Of course, I'm still in tune with the seasons of the Southeast. With September and October comes a longing for brightly c
It's great when you create something that not only tastes great, but is pretty to look at too. These cookies fit the bill. The cookie itself is a wonderful buttery cinnamon spiced cookie that is delicate and delicious. The topping is a combination of white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate that swirls and dances into lovely marbleized designs.
This cookie lends itself nicely to a central r
Moist and Luscious chocolate brownie topped with swirls
of decadent caramel!
I absolutely love the Milky Way Simply Caramel candy bars. There's just something about caramel and chocolate that makes me crave more. So, imagine my delight when I got a new cookbook for the holidays and found a recipe for Caramel Swirl Brownies. My copy of Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies
Who doesn't love the taste of Banana Bread? Well, this delightful recipe gives you all that banana and walnut goodness in a buttery shortbread!
These cookies with their rich maple flavored icing are the perfect bite-sized treats. With the holidays approaching (yup, it's September already!) these are great cookies to file away for your holiday baking. They'd work great on a cookie tr
Somewhere between Lemon Bars and a Chess Pie, the
Gooey Lemon Butter Cake (based on a Paula Deen
recipe) is sure to thrill!
For many years Mama worked at Garner's Shoes in downtown Newberry, SC. Her co-worker there for all that time was a wonderful lady by the name of Mrs. Margaret Shealy. By the way, for my non-Southern readers that is pronounced, Mizz. Mama and Mrs. Shealy loved tradin
Nutella fans will love the combination of chocolate and
hazelnuts with buttery toffee!
I love toffee. One of my favorite treats is the wonderful English Toffee sold at See's candy stores in the west.
I fell in love with that particular confection way back in the early 1980's when I would visit my brother in San Diego. There was a See's store in the little mall near his house and I wande
The flavors of vanilla, butter, cinnamon and brown sugar can't be beat
in this easy and quick coffee cake!
A couple months ago I finally picked up Janet Evanovich's series of Stephanie Plum books. I'd never read any of her work but was looking for something new since none of my favorite authors had anything new out at the moment. I'll admit - I was hooked. They're funny and quirky and a th
I'm not sure if this should be called a blonde brownie or a bar cookie. It's a little bit of both. Regardless, it's delicious!
This is an old recipe I found in a cookbook on Mennonite food. It's super simple and straightforward but absolutely delectable. The original version of the recipe calls for plain melted butter. I decided to up the flavor profile a bit by using brown butter. Browning
A maple frosting adds real pizazz to this cake along with the unexpected
crunch of pecans!
I love maple. With temperatures reaching well into triple digits here in the desert I am longing for cool Autumn days. Instead I'll have to settle for cranking up the A/C and doing a little Autumn themed baking. This cake certainly fits the bill with it's big hits of maple flavor. It's one of those c
What a busy few weeks it has been. Unfortunately, not in the kitchen. The good news is that we found out Michael will be performing a short set at the Tucson Folk Festival. He'll be doing an acoustic set in the Tucson Museum of Art lobby at noon on Sunday, May 6. If you're in the area drop by for some great music.
Since he's doing some new music he and some of our neighbors who won't be abl
When I was a kid I practically lived on peanut butter. It's still one of my favorite things and peanut butter cookies rank right up there in my pantheon of snacks. This cookie combines a classic peanut butter cookie with some whole grain goodness in the form of oats and finishes with a little surprise burst of extra peanut flavor in the form of peanut butter chips.
If you like the good old
Harry Nilsson may have told us to put "Da Lime in Da Coconut" but I think a little lemon in the coconut is better. Since Easter is quickly coming upon us I thought I'd trot out an old southern favorite - the coconut cake and combine it with one of my favorite taste treats - lemon curd.
The result is a great layer cake featuring a wonderfully light and white cake delicately flavored with coc
I love spice cakes. Whether it's a traditional gingerbread or something with more exotic blends, I just can't get enough. Although it's Spring and temperatures here in the desert are fluctuating between the upper 80's and the 50's with no seeming rhyme or reason, I decided to bake a spice cake which seems more associated with Autumn to me.
This particular cake is a variation on a Sorghum Sp
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love coconut! There are at least 23 recipes on here that include coconut as an ingredient. So, let's make it 24.
These wonderfully chewy coconut cookies are simply scrumptious. The recipe is really quite simple and involves a semi sugar cookie base into which coconut is added to flavor the cookie and give it the impressive chewy quality. I could
I have been so remiss in my baking and posting lately. It's not that I've not been cooking. No, I've been trying to cook "heart healthy" thanks to Michael's recently uncovered medical issues. It seems that I just forget to photograph or write about those dishes. At any rate, I'm finally feeling competent enough with our new home menu to get back to baking more regularly. I've got several thing
When a recipe says to get out a 9x13-inch pan you're probably like me and think "bar cookies!" In this case you could say that Skibo Castle Ginger Crisp is a bar cookie. However, unlike most bar cookies that are cakey and thick, this is crisp and thin. Ginger is the dominant flavor of this great import from the Highlands of Scotland and with background notes of vanilla and that sort of je ne s
One thing I love about Arizona is the sky. From the impossibly turquoise blue of afternoon to the vibrant colors of our sunsets which color the mountains red and orange there's just nothing quite like it. One of the most beautiful sunsets I ever saw was a few months after moving to the state. We were in Avra Valley just across the Tucson Mountains with friends. As the sun set over the distant
Sometimes you need a little pick-me-up. The past couple weeks have certainly made me want a pick-me-up! First, Michael brought home a nasty cold (which I'm pretty sure was some strain of flu). He was sick for several days. In the midst of that Lady Snow developed some sort of intestinal bug and was really not feeling well either. She ended up with a trip to the vet's office and course of probi
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy New Year to everyone! We had a lovely little holiday here at Sugar Pies. I got a new Kindle e-reader which I'm coming to love. I honestly never thought I'd join the e-book trend because of my love of paper books. However, after just a few minutes not only was I finding it easy to read but since I read so often in bed just touching a button to turn pag
It seems like forever since I posted anything! Normally, this time of year I'm knee deep in baking for the holidays. Unfortunately, events have transpired to put a hitch in my holiday baking plans.
The day after Thanksgiving Michael wasn't feeling well. Actually, he hadn't been feeling well for a couple months. He was complaining of shortness of breath and a dry cough that kept him up at ni
Imagine for a moment a cookie made with no spices that relies on its flavor from butter and butter alone. What do you think it might taste like? Perhaps those butter cookies so popular around the holidays? Something like shortbread, maybe?
What if I told you it elements of caramel and butterscotch. What if I told you that you could taste hints of ginger or molasses in the finish? You wouldn
The weather has changed here in the desert. A cool Sunday with rain late in the evening has given way to temps in the 50's during the day and in the 30's at night. Although we're supposed to warm up in the 60's or low 70's by the end of the week, the beginning of the week has been a chilly one. I've even had the fireplace going trying to stave off using the heater at least for a few more wee
With a few apples still left from my various apple dishes since our trip to the orchard, I decided to try a recipe from America's Test Kitchen for Apple Fritters.
But, before I get to the fritters, I need to vent. Obviously, I'm from the south. For years I've listened to people make jokes about a southern standby - grits. The jokes and disdain have been endless, from a scene in My Cousin
"Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. I don't care if I ever get back!" Who doesn't know those lines from the old song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Right now the peanuts and Cracker Jack seem very appropriate with the World Series in full swing and most people associate that delightful caramel concoction of peanuts and popcorn with baseball. For me, however, Cracker Jacks mean Halloween.
I don't know what inspired me to go out and get some canning supplies. Maybe it was all those little jars of preserves I saw the other week at the apple orchard that were selling for upwards of $7 a jar. Maybe it was all the junk and chemicals in every jar of salsa, jam, or jelly in the grocery store. Maybe it was just wanting to do something I've never done without my mother or grandmother
One of the perqs of being a moderately (minimally?) successful food blogger is receiving the occasional cookbook to review. Earlier this week I opened the mailbox to find a copy of Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story
by Kimberly Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero and published by Andrews McMeel Universal. I have to admit being intrigued not only by the name but the cover photo which features a
Or to be more precise, Apfel Kuchen. This happens to be one of those desserts that has been adapted so often that it's hard to figure out what the original version might be. I've seen versions that are true cakes. I've seen versions that are tarts. I've seen versions that are pies. I've seen versions that are sort of like an apple bread pudding. You name it and it's out there.
Of course, kuch
Apple Annie's Orchard in Willcox, AZ
Fall fell on Tucson in a big way. Sometimes it seems we have two seasons: Summer and Winter. It's either 100 degrees out and dry as a bone or it's chilly and damp! Today turned out to be the latter in Tucson.
I've been wanting to make a run down to Apple Annie's in Willcox for awhile now. They have apple orchards as well as a large farm that grows veg
It probably seems like leeks are making it into a lot of stuff lately. That's because they don't let you just buy one leek in the market. So, I've had to use up the few that came in the bunch. Honestly, never cooking with leeks before it's been something of an experiment but they've become big hits around here. We've enjoyed the subtle onion flavor they impart to things.
So, as I tried to com
It has been one of those weeks around here. Michael came home with yet another cold/upper respiratory infection. He was feeling so bad on Friday he actually canceled students. That's something he very, very rarely does.
So, since he had to work all day today I decided to make him something special for supper. He loves French Onion Soup and always is very excited when we dine out and the soup
Recently, I discovered a new cooking show I enjoy immensely. It's French Food at Home with Laura Calder and was originally produced by Food Network Canada. It's now made its way to the Cooking Channel here in America.
I've really enjoyed Calder's take on French cuisine and particularly her use of rather simple but delicious dishes rather than the more intimidating and overly involved ones no
Beer brats on french rolls, Confetti Corn, extra brats and Homemade Potato
Chips with Wisconsin Chedder and Parmesan Cheese.
We're geared up for another season of Packers' football here at Sugar Pies. You might wonder why a southerner is such a Packer fan. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to follow the Panthers or Falcons or even the Saints? Well, when you get absorbed into a big Wisconsin
I've been eating some high fiber granola bars lately because I was shocked to see how little fiber I was actually getting in my diet. But looking at the ingredients list in my bars I saw far too many unknown chemicals. So, I wondered, could I make some homemade chewy granola bars that only included things with which I would normally cook?
My first attempt was using Ina Garten's granola bar re
Earlier this week Michael had a really bad cold so I decided to make him some homemade chicken noodle soup (recipe forthcoming). As part of that I had to get some chicken breasts and roast them. Of course, in today's convenience world you can't walk up to the butcher in the grocery store and buy a couple chicken breasts that have been trimmed. No, you have to buy a family size package and trim o
I know I'm on a smoothie kick, but bear with me. It's been hot here in Arizona, as if that is a surprise. But on top of being hot it appears our North American Monsoon is fizzling out. It's been a week or so since had any significant rainfall and the nighttime temps are in the upper 80's and 90's too. In short, it's sweltering.
So, there's nothing better when it's like this than a good old fa
You might be thinking I've abandoned you. I promise I haven't. But, I have been having to moderate my baking quite a bit.
A couple weeks ago I looked around and decided I had to do something to lose some weight and become more active. At 45 I had allowed my bone issues and other health issues to rule my life. Because it hurt to do things I just stopped moving. My life had become baking and e
For the past few days I've been experimenting with some recipes. The first one I tried out was for a lemon cookie topped with meringue. This wasn't my recipe but one suggested from one of those recipe sites. Honestly, I wasn't impressed. I liked the cookie itself with its big bit of lemon flavor. The meringue part left something to be desired, though. It was far too chewy and not in a good way.