Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkins and Black Boot, Union Square Farmer's Market, October 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Graveyard Cake


Halloween was never my favorite holiday.  I prefer happy, smiling ghosts and never really enjoyed the goriness that most people seem to love about the holiday.

The costumes and free candy were wonderful - at least until I turned 13 and was thereby deemed to old to go trick-or-treating.  Now I find myself on the other side of the door, the adult handing out candy to children who, on any other day in this city, would be considered pan handlers.

But I do enjoy seeing all the costumes, all the Daddies carrying around little bumble bees who are too young to talk, all the Mommies going crazy for the wallpaper in our entryway, and all the almost-teenagers (I am over the word tween) entrusted to trick-or-treat all by themselves in the building.


Besides costume watching, there are a few other, non-scary, things I enjoy about Halloween each year:  It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and this cake.

I remember my mother clipping the recipe for this treat from a magazine and how my sister and I used to fight over whether to mix gummy worms into the chocolate pudding.

Let's just say that I detested real worms and my sister used to keep them as pets in a tin under her bed.  I am sure you can guess which sides we took in the argument.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nutella Bomboloni with Hazelnut Sugar


The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up.  Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts.  She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann, and Epicurious.


Personally, I have never liked doughnuts.  Crazy, right?  

But I only speak the truth.  Ask my father who was forced to purchase a blueberry muffin on weekend morning runs to Dunkin' Donuts.  If he forgot to purchase the muffin, or if they happened to have sold through their stash for the morning, I would refuse to eat breakfast.  

I was a bit stubborn as a child.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Martha's Apple Butter


When cool fall days arrive here in Manhattan, I instinctively begin to miss home.  The smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves make me homesick for weekends I spent baking with my mother and nights when my father would slowly mull apple cider on the stove top.


Perhaps what I miss most about being home in Virginia are the people - family and friends.  Besides feeling nostalgic for my own family and food, I miss the community.

My parents talk about our neighbors as very close friends - our conversations include updates on all the neighborhood children, pets, and get-togethers.  A community that considers each other family and are quick to offer a helping hand.

Meanwhile,  as I juggle grocery bags and dig in my purse for the keys, my neighbors walk quickly past without even so much as a hello.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pretzel Bread


When fall arrives, my Sundays are taken hostage by a little game called football.  This is not only because Mike is obsessed with watching as many games as humanly possible, but also because I love football.

By 1 pm on Sunday, all errands must be completed.  Any open houses scheduled during this time will not be attended. Oh - and pretzel bread should be rising in kitchen.


As with most things in life, one of the things I like most about football games is actually the food.  And when I served pretzel bread with Mike's spicy chicken chili one Sunday last year, a heavenly combination was unknowingly created.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spice Cupboard: Fall Baking


A cool fall breeze swirled its way through Manhattan this week, bidding farewell to summer days and shifting my thoughts towards mulled apple cider and creamy pumpkin pie.

With the changing of the seasons, as you pull out your cozy sweaters and warm corduroys, it is also time to asses the preparedness of another closet - your spice cupboard.

Dreaming of all the warm, homey desserts I have planned for this fall, here are the spices I checked and replenished as necessary in my own cupboard: ground all-spice, whole all-spice, cardamom, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, whole cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.

Ensuring your fall baking spices are fresh and stocked will ensure plenty of happy baking days ahead.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pat's King of Steaks


Being somewhat of a foodie, most of my travel dreams also include enjoying the local fare.

For instance, when I picture dreamy days in Paris, I imagine enjoying a croissant and cafe au lait in some quaint cafe.  

Indulging in pizza, pasta, and gelato in Italy.  Devouring a pretzel and brawts in Germany.  You get the idea.  


One of these items on my list was a bit more attainable, waiting just a little south of Manhattan, although the distance had kept us apart until this past weekend.

A cheesesteak in Philly.  Whiz wit, please.


Mike and I joined a group of friends in Philadelphia this weekend for a mini-college reunion.  Over the course of the evening, the Philly native was stunned to learn I had never enjoyed a true cheesesteak.

So Sunday afternoon, Tom remedied the situation and chauffeured us hungry people to the place that made what he considered the best cheesesteaks around.


We waited patiently in line, placed our orders (correctly!), received our food, and chowed down on the tailgate of the car.

I got my whiz wit in Philadelphia.  And I got to enjoy it with some pretty awesome friends.

Happy tummy.  Screaming thighs.  Cross it off my list.


Pat's King of Steaks
1237 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147-5060

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Graham Crackers


For many, graham crackers are one of those pantry staples which mass producers seem to provide an acceptable, consistent product.  While varying tastes and textures are noticeable between brands, once a preferred brand is located, bakers seem content to utilize these crackers without issue.

While the convenience of popping open the cardboard box and slicing through the form-fitting plastic casing is unquestioned, I recently questioned whether us consumers were missing out on a bigger issue: taste.


Graham crackers were always one of my favorite treats as a little girl.  These crisp, slightly sweet crackers were usually lurking in the corner cupboard, disguised as leftovers after birthday or holiday celebrations.

My mum would pack a few graham crackers among my other lunch components.  She would usually smear a layer of frosting - her chocolate frosting still cannot be topped - between two graham cracker squares, although I loved them just as much in their plain, natural state.


After much research and reluctance - was it really worth the extra effort when I am perfectly satisfied with my Honey Maid's? - I settled on a recipe, located some extra special local honey for my efforts, and began mixing, rolling, cutting, and baking.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Etsy Shop Re-Opening!

I am happy to announce the re-opening of my Etsy shop!  You can now purchase copies of your favorite photographs from the Dolcetto Confections blog!

These prints are a simple solution to bring color into your kitchen or eating area and a perfect gift idea for your foodie friends!

The selection includes some of my favorite photographs, like freshly iced lemon-ginger pound cakes...

...and fresh, bright cherries from the Union Square Farmer's Market.

The photographs are 5" x 7" in size and professionally printed on Kodak Endura Lustre paper.  Photos can also be mounted for an additional fee.  If you need a different size print, feel free to let me know and I will be happy to accommodate your request.

I will continue to add photographs on the site, but feel free to let me know if there are specific photographs you would like to purchase.

In addition, if you have a specific ingredient or dish you would like photographed, you can 'Request Custom Item' and I would be thrilled to work with you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies

October is here.  My absolute favorite month during my very favorite season of the year.  Although today NYC is drowning in all the rain we have received, I just know cooler days are on the other side of this storm.

Days that beg for a warm sweater, a good pair of jeans and a beautiful pair of boots.

Days when you crave warmer, homier flavors than summer has to offer.  Like hazelnuts and Nutella - the flavors just seem too overpowering on a sweltering summer day, but absolutely perfect with a cup of coffee in the fall.
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