Spring Bake

Bon Appetit Ricotta Cake 2 arrPatio all set and spring cleaning complete, are you thinking what I’m thinking: sun’s out, bundt’s out! Always finding a reason to celebrate, there’s no better time to reward a seasonal mission well accomplished than with cake – al fresco, of course! And given my love of baking, I gladly make use of springform pans and vibrant fruit for a refreshing duo: lemony fruit-filled and almond peach ricotta cakes.

Bon Appetit Ricotta Cake 4 arrFirst intrigued by Bon Appétit’s Raspberry-Ricotta Cake, a glimpse of this cake looked too tempting not to recreate. Doing just that, I use Alison Roman’s simple instructions and get ambitious. Doubling the amounts of specified ingredients, I yield twice the batter for two variations on this light and fluffy cake. Clearly, the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea or any java pick-me-up.

Bon Appetit Ricotta Cake 5 arrAttesting to its simplicity, this ricotta cake is easy to make and tweak. Certain to add bright flavour, the original recipe calls for raspberries. While keeping with the necessities – flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt and ricotta – is a must, this ricotta-inspired cake is not exclusive to raspberries alone. Forgoing the suggested listing, I follow most steps and include my preferred choice of berries, stone fruit and citrus for an end result that’s peachy-keen.

Bon Appetit Ricotta Cake 3 arrChanged but not compromised, my take is quite delicious and still attune with the desired moist consistency of Bon App
étit’s Ricotta Cake. Likewise, the almond topping adds texture to the mildly fragrant peach-infused cake. Equally fresh and clean on the palette, inclusion of lemon zest coupled with pockets of tart blackberries, blueberries and cherries appropriately lift the otherwise plain cake structure with bursts of bold flavour. Pleased with the overall outcome of my ricotta cakes, this duo looks prime and tastes divine as-is though can be made ultra indulgent with a dollop of whipped cream.
A piece of cake to make – and eat, once cooled – here’s a final note on any leftover fruit: blushing Bellinis, anyone?

Strawberry Peach Bellinis arrWasting not, blend equal parts of any remaining peach slices with frozen strawberries to create a fruit-fusion. From here, fill a wine glass with fruit purée – about 1/3 high – and top the amalgamated contents with sparkling wine. Feeling peachy with abundance, elevated lounging is meant to be decked out with juicy refreshments – Bon Appétit!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.


Red Velvet That Will Please


beet-red-velvet-cupcakes-8-arrWant a Valentine’s dessert that will make your special someone blush beet red? Saying “YES” to all things homemade, I have the perfect baked treat in mind. For your sweet – or sweet tooth – I’m thinking: Red Velvet Cupcakes. Satisfying for more than its V-Day symbolic hints of love – chocolate and heart-red hue – this cocoa-rich yet moist bite-size indulgence is made extra irresistible thanks to a generous smothering of cream cheese frosting. As scrumptious as it sounds, red velvet is not for everyone but, when made right, is sure to leave you with a smile.

beet-red-velvet-cupcakes-4-arrEnticed, yet? Love it or hate it, I’m in the mood to whip up a batch of red velvet cupcakes. Still tempting to some, red velvet persists to be a sought-after southern delight since its revival on the big screen – watch the retro hit, Steel Magnolias. Movie buff or not, however, others find nothing delectable about consuming a piece of red-dye cake that’s, too, criticized for being bland. Honestly, I can’t blame them! Also choosing to forgo the Texas band-waggon – sorry, Adams Extract – a little research is all it took to find the ‘one.’ Clearly convinced that ‘red’ can be made right, I’ve found a non-greasy red velvet cake instruction that’s highly flavourful all the while omitting oil and food colouring.

beet-red-velvet-cupcakes-6-arrGetting back to the basics, the start to producing a genuine ‘rouge’ cake batter is as simple as this: just ‘beet’ it! Truly, the inclusion of beetroot veg will evoke desired vibrancy without emptying an entire bottle of food colour – L-O-V-E this! Further match-made for more reasons than one, I use Pamela Moxley’s Red Velvet Cake recipe that calls on butter, equally appeasing to my desire for an oil-free batter. And as if things couldn’t get any better, directions ask that you purée the cooked and peeled beets so you’re solely left with smooth – ‘au naturel’ red – velvety liquid texture. As for the taste, this cake is not intended to be overly chocolatey nor are you left with a strong beet flavour.  In contrast, these cupcakes are mildly sweet and are all about a ‘chemical romance.’ Explanation provided: the appearance of reddish earth tones should result upon combining neutralized Dutch-process cocoa powder with buttermilk, and acids such as white vinegar and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, as Moxley’s steps indicate.

beet-red-velvet-cupcakes-11-arrAs for my experiment, I can attest to a fairly ‘reactive’ outcome in the test kitchen. From burgundy to crimson, the looks of lovely red are pleasantly evident and ever-changing between baking stages. A chameleon cake of sorts, that’s exactly what you want to see when attempting this vegetable-infused dessert recipe. Be bold, then, and prepare to welcome variations of red that doesn’t include lipstick or candy apple – any other shade, mind you, wouldn’t reflect an authentic beet cake.

Ultimately doing all things in love, I hope you try a scratch recipe of choice or cake mix – no judgement here – and, when the little cakes are cooled, begin to decorate with frosting: butter-cream, cream cheese or ‘roux’ icing. beet-red-velvet-cupcakes-13-arrCreating cream cheese frosting for my individual ‘reds,’ all I do is combine the following in a bowl: softened unsalted butter and cream cheese – both left out, at room temperature – icing sugar, plus a final dash of Madagascar vanilla essence. Once fluffy and ready to go, I divide the frosting into separate containers, get a piping bag and tip assembled, and do the unexpected: I use food colouring gel. It’s true but, only a few drops – promise! All in the name of happy baking, I couldn’t resist arranging a bed of edible roses. Seriously worth the addition of colour, who would deny wanting these thorn-free flowers for V-Day? Admittedly beautiful, lush, and fragrantly sweet, red velvet rosette frosted cupcakes are for the making, baking, and taking – by the dozens!

© DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s Get Started!

prima-pavlova-2-arrNew year, new dessert? Right on – my sentiments exact! Paving 2017 with all that is light, sweet and timeless, I’m resolute in making a classic dessert that echoes effortless sophistication. And for this “must-indulge” endeavour, whipping up divine pavlova is nothing short of pav-u-lous.

Originally made to honour ballerina Anna Pavlova, this delicate meringue topped with heavy cream and fruit promises an impressionable display upon presentation. For my dessert stage, then, here’s two ovation-worthy variations to prepare: soft and chewy vanilla pavlova embellished with whipped cream and seasonal berries, in addition to a two-tier chocolate and raspberry layered pavlova cake.prima-pavlova-3-arr

Instructions abound, pursuing any pavlova recipe is a cinch. While I’m a Martha Stewart loyalist – surprise, surprise – be confident that ingredients and steps for the making of meringues are pleasingly similar. Tried, tested, and happily achieved – thanks to Ms. Stewart – here’s a sum of what you’ll need for the meringue base: egg whites, salt, sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla extract. For the chocolate alternative, omit vinegar and cornstarch but add premium quality unsweetened cocoa powder and brown sugar accordingly. Once the ingredients are mixed to a glossy stiff consistency, continue to bake and cool the meringue discs in the oven. Finally, proceed to add finishing touches to the domed base. prima-pavlova-4-arr

Generously topping my vanilla meringue with sweetened whipped cream, strawberries and blackberries, fear not if your baked structure slightly cracks or deflates, even post cooling. Instead, remember: this show-stopping beauty is not done until it’s fully dressed via flavourful cream, berries, other fruits – kiwi, banana, raspberry, blueberries, etc. – chocolate shavings, ganache, and even caramel sauce. Garnishes being optional, I brighten the already vibrant fruit pavlova with fresh sprigs of mint, and do so for extra colour and taste. prima-pavlova-1-arrEqually, and like the vanilla pav, the cocoa-rich-lo-va incorporates both fruit and sweetened whipped cream. To ensure even levels – between the first and second floors of cake – simply spoonful proportionate amounts of whipped cream onto the surface of each chocolate meringue. Getting the tiniest bit technical, carefully spread the filling from the center outward – an offset spatula works like a charm – and proceed by topping one cream-laden round with the other. Finding no swan song here, a bountiful shower of lush red raspberries and dusting of dark chocolate shavings is all you require for this adorned ‘prima’. So, there you have it! Dramatically ‘made-up’ and ready for a close reveal, wowing guests is as easy as gracing them with front-row standing to their very own slice of cloud cake – PAV-tastico!

© DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Something Berry Wonderful


Swiss Jelly Roll 5 arrHappy belated! Yesterday, love of country was on display for none other than Canada Day. Marking the nation’s birthday in patriotic fashion, the first of July is nothing short of seeing all things red, white and – especially for foodies – deliciously homegrown.

No exceptions, the baker-in-me equally celebrated the best way I know how – via dessert! Clearly adding caloric ‘fuel’ to complement eventful fireworks, I had one specific treat in mind. Swiss Jelly Roll 4 arrGoing for something ‘berry’ seasonal, I forgo prized sweet sap – pure maple syrup – and highlighted the occasion by following instruction for a raspberry inspired recipe. And so, a day off – for this Canuck – was a day well spent in the kitchen, making homemade Swiss Jelly Roll.

Consistent with layers of tart raspberry fruit preserve and lightly sweetened whipped cream, this sponge sheet cake is generously filled, rolled, and sliced to appease any birthday guest. Swiss Jelly Roll 1 arrEven suitable for afternoon tea, this rolled cake is too irresistible not to remake and share. Kindly note, I used Martha Stewart’s recipe though you can commit to a reliable sponge cake recipe of your own choosing. Likewise, feel free to swap the raspberries for alternate ‘red’ fruit such as strawberries or cherries – as always, cater to ‘your’ preferences and palette.

Party planning still in the works – for some – upcoming national festivities like the Fourth of July and Bastille Day on the fourteenth are more reasons to bake, share and devour this versatile cake. Swiss Jelly Roll 7 arrIn recognition of the allied tricolour flags, I recommend using the exact sheet cake method and simply adding blueberries in combination with your choice of edible ‘rubies’ – fresh fruit and compote alike – to ultimately represent red, white and blue. What’s more, now you have three legitimate grounds – or excuses – to eat cake to your sweet tooth’s content. Baking up more reasons to celebrate with food, Happy International July Days!!

© DISHFUL, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

French Souvenir

Madeleines 1 arrMad for Madeleine? More than a name, madeleines are synonymous with ‘la nostalgie.’  Remembrance of past moments, this distinctive French cake brings back a flood of memories for me, and perhaps others.  Courtesy of Marcel Proust’s work, Swann’s Way, my first introduction to this light buttery treat is found in the timeless pages of the aforementioned classic.  Clearly reminiscing of days spent reading French literature ─ food scenes, in particular ─ breaking into some “petites madeleines” of my own seems pretty ideal, right about now.  Only dilemma is:  there are no small cakes or a local pâtisserie in sight.  Fortunately, there is a ‘way’ to go from here and that’s to the kitchen ─ where the creation of nouveau memories commence.

Madeleines 3 arrReliving a wrinkle in time ─ à la baking ─ I gather the necessities for the remaking of this molded plump sweet. First thing’s first, you need the right pan ─ molded madeleine cake tin ─ and the right ingredients.  Similar to butter or yellow cake recipes, you’ll need all the basics:  flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder, salt, honey, lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Following Martha Stewart’s instructions specified for ‘madeleines,’ I prepare two separate zesty batches:  one to include grated lemon rind ─ like Martha’s original ─ and a second batter that solely consists of orange citrus.

Madeleines 5 arrWhile I found this madeleine recipe easy to prepare, the process involved is quite time-consuming. In brief, you must chill the batter for an hour prior to pouring it into the hollows of the buttered and floured cake pan.  And, from here, you must set the cake batter-filled pan in the fridge ─ that’s right, there’s a second chilling time ─ and, not straight into a preheated oven just yet.  There are plenty of recipes available, so you can definitely stick with your preferred “go-to” recipe.

On the plus side, I did like the simplicity of the ingredients required, and did not mind the multi-step procedure involved with the making of Martha’s recipe. Madeleines 4 arrThe beauty of this recipe also lies in the delicate yet sponge-like texture of these cakes.  Undeniably fine in quality, I brush the ridged surface of the finished and cooled lemon madeleines with lemon glaze for some added zing.  For an alternate citrus twist, I primarily adhere to the original recipe but replace lemon zest with grated orange peel.  Madeleines 6 arrOnce baked and inverted onto a cooling rack, I lightly dab the little cakes with edible perfume ─ a.k.a. fragrant orange blossom water ─ and, as a last touch, give these perfectly individual tea time indulgences a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.  ‘Et voilà,’ resurrecting the senses is as achievable as getting lost in time via the delighting of one’s very own afternoon snack.

© DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

“Same, Same, but Different – but, Still the Same”

Pear Cake 2 arrIt’s as easy as, “A piece of cake!” Honest to goodness, there are so many reasons why I enjoy baking and yielding successful results is definitely one of them. While I’m no Martha Stewart, it’s no surprise that I do favour her tried and tested recipes.  After all, if she can do it so can I ─ right? Well, there’s one way to find out ─ let’s get baking!  With the right recipe and attitude, I approach Martha’s take on the familiar classic ─ upside-down pineapple cake ─ but, like her, use an alternative fruit for this fall-esque treat:  “Pear Upside-down Cake.”Pineapple Cake arr

Still pear-trending, I use green d’Anjou pears though I find this versatile recipe can be altered by using apples.   Continuing with instructions, I prep the pears ─ wash, peel, core and slice the fruit ─ and separately create the topping and batter.  Once the three parts are ready for assemblage, it’s time to layer:  topping first, pour the sweet butter and brown sugar mixture into a cake pan; proceed by carefully arranging the pear crescents; and finally, pour the cake batter onto the pears and use an off-set spatula to evenly spread it out to the pan’s edge.Pear Cake 1 arr

Following this recipe’s rules is, indeed, “a good thing.” But for extra flavour and warmth, I added a touch of fragrant cinnamon spice to the batter.  While you may omit spices altogether, be mindful that a hint will suffice as introduction of bold tastes may overpower the mild profile of this pear cake.  Once ready for pre-heated treatment, I set this cake off into the oven and bake it accordingly ─ as per Martha’s suggestions ─ at 350F and for 45 minutes.  Pear Cake 4 arrPleasing to the eye and palette, the end result is delicious:  a glistening burst of caramelized softened pears that are neatly embedded into moist ─ almost pudding-like ─ yellow cake.  Undeniably achievable, this ringed pear cake recipe is befitting of baking aficionados and dessert-lovers alike.  A same-old-different take on a homemade treat that is both enjoyable to prepare and share by the piece, slice or plate ─ happy eating!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Pineapple Expressway to Sweet ‘Afters’

Pineapple Upsidedown Cupcakes 2 arrSimple pleasures are where it’s at!  And for me, there’s something poetically understated about Mother Nature’s offerings.  To be seen and enjoyed, there’s no doubt there are plenty.  But, here are two earthly examples that immediately come to my mind:  ‘ananas’ and ‘palmas.’   Both standing tall and equally homegrown natives to warmer climates, I absolutely adore these particular reminders of Mr. Sun ─ pineapples and palm trees.

Pineapple Upsidedown Cupcakes 3 arrQuite the flora spectacle, leafy high rises are to be seen, left in their natural habitat, and later missed post-travel.  Fortunately, I have great news:  sunny days are ahead!  Requiring minimal effort and looking no further than a few staples, a taste of the tropics is made instantly possible via Betty Crocker.  Yes, I said it ─ the cake mix!  I’m all for baking desserts from scratch.  But, on “island time” ─ even ‘sans’ the island ─ baking is temptingly a breeze with Betty’s direct recipe for Upside-down Pineapple Cupcakes.  Essentially, this will be a delectable crowd-pleaser that can be prepared non-stop and without catching any red-eyes.

Pineapple Upsidedown Cupcakes 1 arrFollowing step-by-step instructions, then, here we go:  step one, evenly dot a muffin pan with pre-combined brown sugar and butter; step two, layer with pineapple slices; step three, arrange a single maraschino cherry in the center of each designated muffin setting; and, last but not least, step four requires one to pour the pre-made cake batter over the aforementioned necessities.  Speaking of the batter, all you need are eggs, oil, and water ─ as per Betty’s suggestion.  Better yet, substitute water with reserved pineapple juice ─ liquid from the same can of ‘fruit rings’ will do ─ and be on your way to creating a tartly sweet pineapple-infused mixture.  In continuation, proceed to prepare and bake two dozen upside-down sweet cakes at 350 F, for 25 minutes.  Finally, allow the bountiful of cakey vitamin C to cool.Pineapple Upsidedown Cupcakes 4 arr

So, there you have it!  A Betty-inspired take on a classic dessert that happily turns out ─ intact ─ and one that remains true to exotic taste.  What’s more, these caramel-coated miniature cakes deliver:  they’re undeniably moist, flavourfully saturated in fruit flavour, and are best served warm or à la mode.  Suffice it to say, bakers and pineapple-heads alike can rejoice!  Speedily-made and golden still, this fan-favourite treat is bound to delight appetites, and leave all with a sunny ─ ‘ananas’-kissed ─ disposition.

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Irish You a Happy St. Paddy’s!

GuinnessCCakes 7 arr“Kiss me, I’m Irish!” ─ well, not quite!  Definitely Irish-ish in spirit, who wouldn’t be?  Painting the town green, St. Patrick’s Day is definitely to be seen, heard and celebrated both near and far.  GuinnessCCakes 3 arrGetting early festivities under way, the baker in me feels equally happy-go-lucky to colour my kitchen with my next must-make-bake-and-indulge Emerald Isle inspired treat.  Kissing one decadent recipe “hello,” here’s a moist cake worth touting:  Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting.

GuinnessCCakes 4 arrTraditional or not, a beer-infused dessert is to be truly tried and tasted, at least once.  And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes ─ yes you can switch things up, and make cupcakes!  Courtesy of Epicurious, anyone can take the original recipe and still yield great flavour with a pan swap-out.  Caring to share a taste of Ireland with friends, then, just exchange a round cake pan for a muffin tin and your mini cakes are set by the dozen.  Needless to say, crack open and pour ‘Made in Ireland’ exports, then prepare and evenly distribute the cake batter into cupcake papers for the start of your very own ‘nouveau’ 12-pack.  GuinnessCCakes 5 arr

Lament-free upon a baking session gone right, these Guinness ‘cups’ are undeniably cocoa-rich, infused with dry ebony stout, and baking ‘familiars’ ─ a.p. flour, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, baking soda and sour cream.  Spirits already elated, you may forgo addition of ‘magical’ hints ─ authentic aged whiskey ─ and opt to top solidified pints of brew-baked cake with modest butter cream.   Going the extra mile, however, Bailey’s cream liqueur befits the occasion and mood for a double-double dose of Irish flavour.  GuinnessCCakes 6 arrEnd result, I deem frosted stout cupcakes to be a clover of a dessert find ─ they’re saporous, sweet and simply shamrockin’!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Minutes of Your Time

Afternoon ‘pick-me-up,’ ring a bell?  How about that late night sudden urge for a guilty pleasure – usually chocolate.  Why delivery service – for a “desserts-only” menu – is still non-existent, is beyond my comprehension?  While someone somewhere, decides to someday draft up a much desired business plan to fulfill bouts of unshakable cravings, there is an immediate solution.  Next time you’re overcome by that snack attack, here’s an easy – satisfaction guaranteed – fix:  zap it!

MC final arrBlinding lasers absent, behold a magic spectacle with your very own microwave.  Love it or hate it, this electrical cooking device creates cake in minutes.  Proud owner of an “Easy-bake Oven” – from childhood – it’s been long lost, in the basement.  Given the grown-up alternative, however, find no love lost for greasing of Bundt pans or replacing of burnt light bulbs.  Getting ready to de-rumble – my stomach – I collect the necessities for CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE.

“Microwave-safe?”  These two words – other than health/safety – can’t be stressed enough!  Regardless of colour, size or shape please ensure your mug is viable to withstand heat, and safe for microwave use.   Proactive and avoiding all disaster, then, it’s time to go pantry hunting.  ‘Collectibles’ in hand, first add the ‘dry’ ingredients, and follow with the ‘wet’ into your “microwave-safe” mug:  four tablespoons – each – of all-purpose flour and caster/granulated sugar, two tablespoons of cocoa powder, a quarter teaspoon of baking powder, three tablespoons of chocolate chips, a pinch of salt; and now mix in one egg, three tablespoons – each – of milk and vegetable oil; and finally, a dash of vanilla essence.   Well-combined – in the mug – this mess-free recipe is now ready to be ‘radiated.’MC mug arr

Grand entry made, sit the mug onto the middle of the microwave and set the time.   Eyes fixated and fingers-crossed, my ‘greased-lightening’ puffs to a gooey chocolate pudding dessert.  FYI:  microwaves – as you’re aware – vary in power.  As such, laser spectacles may last up to two minutes.  Only enduring one minute and forty-five seconds, at ‘100 power,’ my end result is revealing of a speedy bargain – bolted cake, and show!

Taking minutes of your time, cake-making – in a mug – doesn’t get more convenient than this.  Better yet, sky’s the limit with flavour options.  Catering to your palette, easily customize this recipe with creative additions and/or replacements:  peppermint, orange or almond extracts; chopped nuts or butterscotch bits, in place or combination with chocolate chips; and, if you must, a spoonful of peanut butter or Nutella – possibilities are endless!  Clearly effortless, guiltless devouring of this luscious cake knocks-out any midnight impulse.  Unapologetically caving into temptation, how can one not be all smiles? – take a ‘mug shot!’

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

Eat Your Heart Out!

“Hearts, hearts everywhere – I’m seeing red!”  Fuchsia pink, sultry crimson and every lipstick rouge shade imaginable, it’s abundantly clear 2.14 – V-Day – is upon us.  Aiming to please, hopeless romantics will likely splurge on the – obvious-to-me – “works”:  handwritten poem-inscribed cards, long-stem Ecuadorian roses, and Godiva chocolate truffles.  Arrow-stricken or not, give the little cherub – that could/would/should – a break!  Valentine’s still remains a day – like any other – for all to love, be loved, and most definitely to love what you do.  And for foodies, this calendar day is reason enough to celebrate fabulous eats – cheers to delicious!

VDay Molten Lava arrLove-struck, I require no unofficial holiday reminders for a match-made pairing.  Simply stated, “I can’t help falling in love with you…” – dessert recipes.  ‘LOL’ indeed!  Revamping a passion for baking, I rightfully designate the “Look of Love” at two enticing treats:  decadent molten chocolate lava cake, and strawberry-filled thumbprint cookies.  In the spirit of Saint Valentine, then, preheat the oven and keep – stove – flames burning with the creation of tantalizingly sweets.

VDay Cookies arr“So happy together?” – always!  In suit of a delectable chocolate cake, these ingredients get along best when mixed in a bowl:  melted dark chocolate, caster sugar, eggs, butter, flour, and a pinch of salt.  Once prepared, evenly distribute the batter into a greased and cocoa-dusted muffin tin, and bake.  In the meantime, the lure of motifs leads me to prepare decorative stencils.  Easy to make and highly transferable, love – of parchment – is truly all you need.  To create heart-shaped cut-outs, simply:  tear a piece of paper, draw onto the sheet, and use scissors to cut around markings.  When ready for use, place the template on top of the cooled cakes, and finish with a generous dusting of icing sugar.  Love-stamped, be certain not to miss any marks in aesthetic appeal and intoxicating aroma with this ‘heart-felt’ cake.  Equally impressive, a properly-timed – not overdone – cakelette is moist, can be cut with a fork and, in doing so, will release a rich semi-liquid chocolatey interior.  Sinfully irresistible, breaking this ache-free ‘heart’ is easy to do and destined for repeat devouring – seconds, please!

VDay PB&J Cookies arrAs for the cookies, adhere to a trusted shortbread-like or peanut butter thumbprint recipe.  Contents mixed and dough made, bake the cookies half-way through.  At this point, remove the tray and using the back of a wooden spoon make impressions of choice – hearts, x’s or o’s.  Designs made, return the ‘blushing dozens’ back to the oven for the remaining bake time.  Cooled and ready for a reunion, no ‘hug’ or ‘kiss’ would be complete without an added touch of sweetness – spoonful of fruit preserve.  Just add desired jam filling into the indentations, and allow the cookies to set prior to enjoyment.  Saving ribbons and bows for another occasion, offerings of your darling’s ‘love’ – baked indulgences – need not be masked or hidden in fancy packaging.  Ultimately expressive of thought and care, a baker’s dozen comes with more than an extra surprise – ‘homemade’ genuinely is where the heart is.

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.