1. 50 Classics in Five Years, Year #1

    image

    Last year, I decided to read 50 classics over the next five years. And unlike some goals, I’m happy to say I’ve stuck to this one.

    In 2013, I read:

    1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    2. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre
    3. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
    4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    5. Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
    6. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    7. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
    8. Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
    9. Rabbit is Rich by John Updike
    10. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

    I liked the movie version of the Count of Monte Cristo better, I think Moby Dick deserves a re-read, but I loved Jane Eyre and the Rabbit series just keeps getting better. Looking forward to continuing this kick.

     
  2. Who needs Stonehenge when there’s Foamhenge! Better than the original, in my opinion.

     
  3. Green = Where I’ve lived.

    Blue = Places I’ve been at least twice.

    Orange = Been there once, stayed the night.

    Red = Driven through.

    White = Haven’t been, want to go starting with Utah, New Mexico, Maine, Wyoming and Montana.

     

  4. A Pumpkin Pleasure Dome Filled With Spices and Pecans

    image

    Not kidding, this is the name of the recipe from a 2001 New York Times Cookbook. Usually when you think of pumpkin bread, a dense sweet loaf comes to mind. This is not that. The Pumpkin Pleasure Dome is a lightly spiced brioche that would lend itself well to being buttered and eaten with your morning cup of coffee. See the recipe here, or click below. It makes three domes: one for home, one for a friend, and one for the office. Or three for yourself, because mmm pumpkin.

     

  5. Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

    image

    This is the best picture I could get of the pumpkin cheesecake I brought into the office on Monday for National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day (really?) because it got scarfed that quickly by my coworkers. I’d call that a success.

    Adapted from Smitten Kitchen + Gourmet, November 2003

    For crust

    • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
    • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

    For filling

    • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon bourbon
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

    For topping

    • 2 cups sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon bourbon
    1. Lock on the side and butter a 9-inch springform pan.
    2. Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    4. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and bourbon in a bowl until combined.
    5. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
    6. Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
    7. Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes.
    8. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
    9. For the topping, whisk together sour cream, sugar, and bourbon in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.
    10. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
    11. Decorate top with pecans.
    12. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and serve.
     

  6. Momofuku Apple Pie Cake

    Apple pie cake

    Apple pie in birthday cake form.

    Browned Butter Cake + Liquid Cheesecake + Crumbled Pie Crust + Apple Pie Filling + Pie Crust Frosting = nom nom nom.

     
  7. Normandy Apple Tart I baked from a Dorie Greenspan recipe (found here) and Fishkill Farms apples.

     
  8. This salted caramel fudge cake was inspired by Sweetapolita’s salted caramel chocolate fudge cake recipe and frosted with Joy the Baker’s chocolate buttercream (made extra fudgy with Ovaltine). Hiding in between all those layers of cake and frosting? Sweet + salty pretzel crunch.

     
  9. There’s so much sugar in and on top of these, but let’s just call this breakfast, okay?

    Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins (or, Pumpkin Muffnuts)

    Adapted from King Arthur Flour

    Yields 12 Muffins

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with papers.
    2. Mix the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.
    3. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth (I did this all by hand. It’s hard to over-mix with a wooden spoon).
    4. Fill muffin wells about 3/4 full. You might have a little left over.
    5. Bake 23-25 minutes.
    6. Remove muffins from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.
    7.  While the muffins are still warm, gently shake them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar.

    Note: If not serving the muffins immediately, store them loosely covered or else they’ll get too sticky. Cinnamon-sugar them right before serving.

     

     

  10. Apple Pie Cake

    image

    Now that it’s nearly fall and I have an apple-picking field trip penciled into my calendar next weekend, it’s high time to make this Momofuku cake again.