Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

July 18, 2014

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Summer grilling weather is happening as we speak. Temperatures have certainly soared to a level at which the thought of turning on the stove top, or heaven forbid the oven is ludicrous. Yup…I say don’t do a thing that would encourage that mercury to climb one fraction of an inch higher inside your house. Come supper time, send the husband out into the wilds of the backyard to grill up some meat. A favourite summer grilled entree around here is the humble yet very tasty hot dog. No fuss, no muss! And how in the world could a hot dog get any better? Well there is that bit where you can add some chili and cheese to arrive at the Chili Cheese Dog. Those are pretty special, but I think I’ve found something to add that might even surpass them. Are you ready for it? Wrap them in Bacon!

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Everything is better with bacon and hot dogs are no exception to that rule. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner, but I am so glad that I finally got around to it. The addition of a little strip of bacon makes those dogs seem so much fancier.

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And when you throw in some home-baked Buttery Hot Dog Buns (so much for keeping the oven off :) ) and a delicious condiment like this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema, the simple grilled dog has gone completely over the top…soaring to – dare I say it – gourmet heights! Now I knew that bacon wrapped hot dogs would be fantastic. And I must say, these Buttery Buns are perfection – rich, tender and soft, yet tough enough to stand up to not only a bacon wrapped dog but also all of the toppings you can heap on as well.

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But the big surprize was this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema. I am completely head over heels in love with it. It hits your taste buds with a wonderfully fresh and spicy zing which is quickly followed with a smooth, cooling creaminess. I’m a bit out of control, putting it on everything. I just can’t get enough. I’ve probably whipped up my 4th batch at this point. Now I will warn you, it is spicy! So for those of you with tender tongues, go easy. You have been warned. But for those of you out there like the husband and myself, get ready for a new addiction. So what are you waiting for? Get that grill fired up and make some of these Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema today.

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Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

  • Servings: 5-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

sources: Jalapeno/CilantroCrema sauce inspired by: Milk & Honey , Buttery Hot Dog Buns from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 10 hot dogs (your choice – but I love Hebrew Nationals or Nathans)
  • 10 strips of bacon (not thick cut)
  • 10 Homemade Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe below-or just use store-bought ones if your oven is entirely off-limits!)
  • Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe below)
  • Additional toppings such as: cheese, chopped white onion, mustard, ketchup, coleslaw

Directions:

Bake Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe will follow) and set aside to cool.

Prepare Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe will follow). Pour into squeeze bottle and place in fridge to cool.

Wrap each hot dog with a strip of bacon. You can secure each bacon end into the hot dog with a toothpick if you wish, but I didn’t and the bacon stayed put!  Cook each hot dog on a grill over a medium to low heat. Do not try to turn your dog too soon or the bacon will be more likely to stick to the grill. Gently rotate each bacon wrapped hot dog as they cook so that all sides can be cooked evenly. Remove from the grill when the bacon becomes crispy. 

To get those nice grill marks on your hot dog buns: Brush each side of hot dog rolls with melted butter and place on the grill for 15 -20 seconds before flipping to other side. Set aside and keep warm.

When ready to eat, grab a warm home-made bun, place a bacon wrapped dog in it, squeeze some of that delicious Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema over it and add whatever other toppings you desire!

For the Buttery Hot Dog Buns:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (361 grams) King Arthur Unbleached Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons (35 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup (46 grams) potato flour or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (227 grams) lukewarm water

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients, mixing then kneading to make a smooth dough. Let the dough rise, covered, until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a New England-style hotdog bun pan. (if you don’t have a hot dog pan – see below)

Gently deflate the dough, and stretch it until it’s about 15″ long and 6″ wide. Place the dough into the pan, stretching it to the edges.

Let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it comes to within 1/2″ of the top of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a baking sheet, and place it on top of the risen buns.

Put the covered buns into the oven, weighing the baking sheet down with something heavy and oven-safe; a cast-iron skillet works well.

Bake the buns for 18 minutes, remove the weighted baking sheet, and bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer, if necessary, to brown the buns.

Remove the pan from the oven, and cool the buns in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn them out onto a rack, rounded side up, to cool completely.

Slice each bun down the middle vertically, without cutting through the bottom; then cut between the buns to separate them.

No Hot Dog Pan Option: To make regular (not New England-style) hotdog buns without a pan, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and form each piece into a cylinder 6″ in length. Transfer buns to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the buns slightly (dough rises more in the center, so this will give them gently rounded tops), then allow to rise for 90 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup store-bought pickled sliced jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno brine
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 of a small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sour cream
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 


Epic Chocolate, Porter & Potato Cake

March 7, 2014

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Anyone have any leftover mashed potatoes? It is rare that we have them leftover, usually gobbling them all up without a second thought. Yet it does occasionally happen. Truth be told I have started making ridiculous amounts of mashed potatoes when I actually do make them, for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have bee known to eat a whole bunch of mashed potatoes in one sitting. Second reason, I am always hoping there will be leftovers so that I can make them into potato farls the next day. And now I have another reason to scheme for leftovers. Believe it or not, I used leftover mashed potatoes in this Epic Chocolate, Porter & Potato Cake. Epic is the perfect word to sum up how I feel about this cake. Rich, chocolatey, moist and delicious! And with spuds and porter as featured ingredients, what cake could better boast of its Irish origins.

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I found this recipe at Bibliocook, the blog of award-winning Irish food writer and broadcaster, Caroline Hennessey. If you haven’t stopped by this great blog, you really must go take a peek. Caroline’s husband is one of the owners and brewers at Eight Degrees Brewing.  I first tasted one of their beers a couple of years ago at the Dingle Food Festival . My friend Theresa, being a fan of that craft brew, had brought along several of their beers for my husband and I to sample and we were instantly hooked. We are eagerly awaiting Eight Degrees arrival in the States. Make sure you keep it in mind if you are planning a trip over to Ireland. Indeed Caroline recommends that their Knockmealdown Porter, be the porter used in this Epic cake. And believe you me, I really wish I could have gotten ahold of a bottle, but alas, none was to be found in Virginia. So I decided to go with a locally brewed porter, looked to Baltimore Maryland (only about 1 hr or so away) and settled on DuClaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, a decision which I am not second guessing after tasting this amazing cake. All of the malty, chocolate, espresso and peanut butter notes of that porter really shine through in every decadent forkful.

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I love that this cake is really no fuss/no-nonsense. It comes together quickly and easily. And since Caroline had mentioned that its taste improves a bit with age, I made it the day before I was planning to serve it and then just frosted it before folks arrived. And even though I frosted the entire cake, it really isn’t necessary. I think simply spreading a thick pillowy cloud of that cocoa dusted cream cheese filling would be sheer perfection. So why did I frost the entire cake? Well, it looks like it is time for a true confessions moment. The original recipe called for a 23cm round cake tin. Of course here in the States, we never really got into that metric system thing and still do everything in inches. I quickly figured out that 23 cm is a 9″ pan. However, I grabbed a cake pan that was only 1 1/2″ tall. It really needed to be at least 2″, so there was a bit of batter overflow happening when I baked it. No big deal as I had the cake tin sitting on a baking sheet, which caught the spillage. However, the edge of my cake ended up looking a bit raggedy. So I made the executive decision of covering my mistake with that scrumptious frosting and no one would be the wiser. Which they weren’t…until I spilled the beans here. Oh well, live and learn and always use taller cake tins when possible!

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I served this substantial cake up at one of my husband’s band rehearsals and it easily fed a flock of hungry musicians, some of whom had seconds, raving about it all the while. I guess I do have even more of a reason to make extra mashed potatoes now. I’m going to have to arrange to have 20 lb. sacks delivered to my home soon if I’m not careful. The 5 lb. ones just won’t do anymore!

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Epic Chocolate, Porter & Potato Cake

recipe slightly adapted from: Bibliocook

Ingredients:

  • 75 grams dark chocolate – it’s worth using 70% here
  • 225 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 200 grams caster sugar (caster sugar is the same as superfine sugar)
  • 220 grams light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 75 grams mashed potato (either cook some potatoes and mash them or used leftover mashed potatoes)
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 25 grams unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 150mls porter – I wish I could have used Eight Degrees Brewing Company’s Knockmealdown Porter, but I used Duclaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter

For the Cream cheese icing:

  • 200 grams cream cheese
  • 50 grams butter
  • 50 grams confectioners sugar, sifted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F and line the base of a 9 X 2″ round baking tin.

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Mix in the melted chocolate and mashed potato.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda together. Gently mix into the cake batter in three additions, alternating with the porter.

Spoon into the prepared tin, leveling the surface with the back of the spoon, and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour, 10 minutes or until the cake feels springy and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth, then mix in the confectioners sugar. Spread over the cold cake, dusting with a little sweetened cocoa.

Enjoy!


Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread & Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread

March 1, 2014

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Here it is March 1st already! That means today is the first day of my annual blog-stravaganza leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Yup…I will be publishing one Irish-y recipe every day until March 17th. This is the 3rd year that I have done this and if you are looking for some tasty Irish-y dishes for St. Patrick’s Day, I hope you will follow along here each day. But I should also mention that I have quite a back catalog of Irish-y recipes from the past years. Just click on Runcible Eats/Recipes at the top of the navigation bar and scroll down to St. Patrick’s Day to see them.  (or just click here and scroll down)

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This year we’re going to get underway with a great recipe for a quick beer bread using… you guessed it – Guinness! Now you know that a bread made with Guinness is going to be fantastic. Cooking anything with Guinness just seems to improve it whether it be a hearty beef stew or a rich chocolate cake. Guinness stout seems to give everything a real depth of flavour. And this Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread not only has yummy Guinness goodness in it, but it also has delicious apple butter added into the mix! I used some of my homemade Drunken Granny Apple Butter, but if you don’t have time to whip up a batch of your own, any store-bought apple butter will do in a pinch.  Being a quick bread, there are no rise times involved, so you’ll have two loaves out of the oven and ready for snacking before you know it. The bread is very moist and bursting with apple flavour. I like mine slathered in butter.

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The folks at A Spicy Perspective, the blog where I came across the original recipe, suggested that it paired well with a sharp cheddar spread. Apples and cheddar do taste great together, so I adapted a spicy cheddar spread from the folks at Cabot Creamery that I already had in my repertoire. Since this is for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to Irish it up a bit and used Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar Cheese and a bit more Guinness (of course). Folks loved the resulting Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread, both on the bread and on crackers as  well.

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This bread would work well with whatever St. Patrick’s Day feast you are preparing, but would also be very welcome at your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast table. Or as a mid-day snack to sop up some of those pints, I mean as a bit of pick-me-up. Make a couple of loaves today and don’t forget the Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread! (That’s one down and 16 more days to go!)

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Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread

recipe adapted from: A Spicy Perspective

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Drunken Granny Apple Butter, or your favourite Apple Butter
  • 12 oz. Guinness Stout beer
  • 1 Tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup (can substitute in 1 T Molasses)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 8 1/2 x 4″ loaf pans.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, apple butter, Guinness and golden syrup. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pans. Baked for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool bread in the loaf pans for 10 minutes before gently inverting on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread

recipe adapted from: Cabot Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups) *
  • 1/4 cup  Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Guinness Stout
  • Large pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)

Directions:

Place grated cheddar, sour cream, butter, Guinness, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in bowl of  food processor and pulse until smooth.

* You can substitute in another cheddar if you are not able to find Kerrygold. I will mention though that you should buy a block of cheddar and grate it yourself. Do not use bags of shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose or corn starch to keep it from sticking together and could cause your cheese spread to be less creamy than it could be if you grated the cheese at home.

Enjoy!


Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Bread & Mini Muffins

November 28, 2013

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I can’t believe it! Not only is Halloween done and dusted, but I am actually roasting a Thanksgiving turkey as I type! (Wish me luck because this is the first time I have ever attempted to roast a whole bird! I’ve only done breasts before and the whole thing is definitely a bit more cumbersome to say the least…) Where in the world did Fall go? You know, it is a very slippery slope from Thanksgiving to Christmas and I can feel us just picking up speed at this point. I had wanted to share all of these lovely Fall apple recipes with you, but it looks like that might have to wait until after Thanksgiving…which is happening now. Oh well, what can I say? Things here have been a bit crazed to say the least and one does what one can. I should probably focus on the positive. So I will say that I do have a lovely Thanksgiving Day recipe for you…Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Bread and Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Mini Muffins.

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It is the same recipe, just different pans really. I like it prepared both ways. If you’re just hanging around with the family and are feeling rather relaxed and informal, the loaf pans are a bit less work. But I will say if you are making this for a get together, go with the mini muffins every time. Not only do they look adorable, but they are easier to manage in public than slicing a loaf of bread. Also, I should mention that the crunch-y, streusel-like topping has a tendency to break up and fall off of the full loaves more easily. And believe you me, you do not want to lose out on eating one crumb of that magical topping. It is completely addictive and really adds so much to this spicy, moist pumpkin bread. You just can’t get any better. Or so I thought… until I decided to drizzle a little bit of maple cream cheese glaze over the top! Mercy!

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I originally found the recipe on Once Upon a Chef.  A great blog which you should definitely take a peek at if you haven’t already! The Chef actually only adds the crunchy pecan topping to her muffins, which she makes as full sized muffins rather than the mini ones that I’ve done here. Furthermore, she bakes her pumpkin loaves without the crunchy topping. It was me that decided to do the topping for both. And me that got a bit carried away and had to add that glaze drizzle. Gilding the lily a bit, I’ll admit, but I just couldn’t stop! If you have a bit more restraint than me, feel free to leave it off. You can even feel somewhat virtuous about it…But me? I’ll be the one licking the maple glaze bowl clean!

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Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Bread & Mini Muffins

recipe adapted ever so slightly from: Once Upon a Chef

yield: two 4 1/2 x 8 loaves or 45 mini muffins

Ingredients:

For the Crunchy Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup Demerara sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

For the Maple Cream Cheese Glaze: (optional)

  • 3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

For the Muffins (or Loaves):

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray one mini muffin pan, or two 4 1/2 x 8″ loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

For Topping: Combine flour, butter, Demerara sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

For Muffins: Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at low-speed until just blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue beating at medium speed until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add pumpkin and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Turn speed down to low and mix in flour mixture until just combined. Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to muffin pans, filling each muffin tin about ¾ full. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for about 18-21 minute, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely (use a butter knife to lift them out of pan).

For Loaves:

Turn batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for about 65 – 75 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

For the Maple Cream Cheese Glaze:

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and maple syrup together until combined. Continue to stir until light and fluffy. Add a little milk or cream until mixture is of a consistency that can be drizzled. Drizzle over cooled loaves or muffins.

Enjoy!


Five Minute Brioche Rolls

August 13, 2013

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Well, it’s August now, which must mean Summer is going to be winding down soon (please Jesus!). Though I bet there are a fair share of you who are still getting some visitors turning up on their door. It doesn’t really happen too terribly often to us here in swampy, mosquito infested Virginia. But I bet those of you with more desirable locales are enjoying the company of some visiting friends and family. And if folks don’t appear this summer, the holidays aren’t too far around the corner. This recipe for Five Minute Brioche rolls is a godsend when you have folks staying with you for a few days. They will think you truly are some sort of domestic goddess as you appear from the kitchen daily, with not even one hair out-of-place, bearing a different type of freshly baked, delicious roll. Say… Pain au Chocolat rolls for breakfast, a cinnamon sugar bread loaf for afternoon tea and then savoury little pesto rolls for dinner. Now I suppose you could muss up the hair a bit and artfully dust yourself with flour if you wanted to go down the more dramatic path. But it would be all for show, because this recipe is sooo easy and you will be able to make all three of these breads, or rolls with whatever flavour combinations you fancy, by simply spending five minutes to mix the dough up at the onset of your friends stay.

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That is the beauty of this bread! You just mix up the dough, which really does take only about 5 minutes. Let it rise for a couple of hours and then pop it into the fridge for at least two hours. It will keep in the fridge for up to five days. When you are ready to bake a batch of something delicious, you simply scoop out 1/3 of the dough, roll it out in a rectangle, add whatever type of add-ins you prefer (That’s right! This recipe is totally customizable.), roll it up like you would a cinnamon roll and then slice it into 12 portions which you bake in a muffin tin, or bread loaf pan if you wish. Ta Da! It is that easy. I made Pesto Swirl Muffins one day,

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followed by Pain au Chocolate Muffins the next,

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and then did a Cinnamon Sugar Swirl loaf on the third.

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I first saw this brilliant recipe on The Café Sucré Farina‘s blog. (Fantastic site – you must take a peek!) Apparently there is actually a book (and website) called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes which has recipes for all different types of bread which can be made using this technique. Fascinating huh? I used to be very intimidated by yeast breads. But luckily I got over that, which is a good thing because yeast breads are just so delicious. And this Five Minute Technique shows you how easy making drool-worthy homemade bread can be. I was tempted to mix up another batch at the start of this week, but in the not too distant future I will be heading out on a beach vacation and eating batch upon batch of rich, buttery Brioche is not a good idea when one needs to be sporting a bikini. For those of you who know me well, I’m sure you’ve read that sentence over several times now and are concerned with how far the mercury has plummeted in Hell. Believe me, I agree it is a bit odd. I will have to let you know if I actually spontaneously combust at the moment my pale, pasty foot hits the sand. Wish me luck and effective sun screen coverage while eating a few of these Brioche rolls.

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Five Minute Brioche Rolls

recipe adapted from: The Café Sucré Farina

yield: 12 Muffins per each 1/3 of dough

Ingredients:

For the Brioche:

  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Ingredients for the Pesto Swirled Rolls:

  • ⅓ of the brioche dough
  • ¼ cup pesto, purchased or homemade
  • 1 large egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash

Ingredients for the Pain Au Chocolat Rolls:

  • 1/3 of the brioche dough
  • 1 cup roughly chopped chocolate
  • 1 large egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash

Ingredients for the Cinnamon Swirl Loaf:

  • 1/3 of the brioche dough
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container. I used this dough rising bucket that I purchased from King Arthur Flour and it works perfectly! Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours. Refrigerate for a least two hours before proceeding with recipe.
Instructions for the Pesto Rolls:
Generously butter a 12 cup muffin pan.Scoop up approximately ⅓ of dough and place on a well-floured work surface. Turn dough several times till coated with flour on all sides. Roll dough into a 10×18 inch rectangle. Spread evenly with pesto to within 1/2-inch of edges.Beginning on one long side, roll the dough into a log and pinch edge to seal. Turn dough so that seam is faced down.Cut log into 12 portions, approximately 1-½ inches each. Place in prepared muffin cups with a swirled sides up and down. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 40-60 minutes or until doubled in size. When almost doubled, preheat oven to 350˚F.Brush rolls with egg wash and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Check rolls after 15 minutes. If they’re getting too brown, cover with foil and bake for 5 more minutes to ensure that center will not be doughy.Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then carefully transfer to cooling rack. When completely cool. transfer to an airtight container. May be frozen. Thaw and re-warm in a 325˚F oven for 5-8 minutes right before serving.Instructions for the Pain Au Chocolat Rolls:Follow the above instructions, but replace pesto with 1 cup of roughly chopped chocolate. I used dark chocolate and was quite pleased, but use whatever type you prefer.Instructions for the Cinnamon Swirl Brioche Loaf:

Generously butter a 5X9″ bread pan.

Whisk cinnamon into granulated sugar. Set aside.

Melt butter.

Scoop up approximately ⅓ of dough and place on a well-floured work surface. Turn dough several times till coated with flour on all sides. Roll dough into a 5X8″ rectangle.

Brush the surface of the dough lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the buttered dough, leaving a 1/4″ border.

Beginning with the 5″ side of the dough, roll up the entire length of dough and pinch seam closed. Gently rock the roll back and forth to even it out.

Place roll of dough in greased bread pan, seam side down.

Beginning on one long side, roll the dough into a log and pinch edge to seal. Turn dough so that seam is faced down.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 40-60 minutes or until doubled in size. When almost doubled, preheat oven to 350˚F.

Gently brush top of loaf with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mix. Bake for 30 -35 minutes or until golden brown. If it is getting too brown, cover with foil.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then carefully transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy!


M&M Cookie Bars

May 7, 2013

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Want a tasty, crowd pleasing treat that doesn’t take much time or effort to make? Look no further, you’ve found it here with these M&M Cookie Bars. These wonderfully thick and chewy bars are simply delicious, buttery and chocolatey and every single bite is just bursting with M&M’s. And as I’ve mentioned, they are so easy to make I could almost do it in my sleep. (And perhaps I have…though that is an entirely different story) But really, in 45 minutes these little devils are done and dusted with the dishes washed up and everything!

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The great thing about using M&M’s in these bars, besides the fact that folks just plain love them, is that it makes the dessert very versatile. M&M’s come in so many varieties these days. You can find bags of them with colours customized for almost every holiday, they come in white chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter, pretzel filled, etc. etc. By changing which type of M&M you use, you’ll seem to have come up with a brand spanking new dessert every time. Minimal effort, maximum results. Gotta love that. Bake yourself the first of many batches today!

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M&M Cookie Bars

recipe from: What Megan’s Making

yield: 16 squares

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/8 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 Tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 12oz bag M&M’s, divided ( I used mini M&M’s but regular sized will work fine as well)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease a 9×9″ pan and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugars until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M’s and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M’s on top and press in slightly.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan. Cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy!


Irish Coffee Scones with Whiskey Butter

March 9, 2013

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Here it is, Day 9 of my St. Patrick’s Day countdown and I think it’s time for another yummy breakfast treat. We haven’t had one since back on Day 1 when I posted about those irresistible Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts. Not that I’m opposed to the occasional slice of cold pizza, or even better, cold, left over french fries for breakfast. But I’m talking about a recipe for “official”  or ” classic” breakfast food. How about some lovely Irish Coffee Scones? Yeah, scones are perfect for breakfast. And these are for St. Patrick’s Day, so let’s do this thing up right. It’s a special occasion. Not an everyday thing. These scones have coffee, which is an essential for breakfast. And they have Baileys, I think we have established how I feel about the Baileys Irish Cream. It has been in high rotation in my recent culinary creations. So all that is missing for these to be a well-rounded St. Patrick’s Day breakfast would be a nice shot of Jameson. Oh…I’ve got it! We’ll stick it in the butter! Whiskey Butter….that’s what I’m talking about! How fantastic, Irish Coffee Scones with Whiskey Butter!

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These Irish Coffee Scones are very moist, quite tender and definitely have a pronounced coffee-y/Baileys flavour. They are very light, almost more cake-like than biscuit/scone like, perhaps due to the addition of the cake flour. They are pretty easy to make, though I will say the dough is quite sticky, so just make sure your hands and prep surface are well floured. As long as you’ve got that covered, you’ll be fine. As with all scones, make sure your butter is very cold when you cut it into the flour and once you’ve added liquid to your dry ingredients, handle the dough as little and as gingerly as possible, otherwise your scones will be tough. Make sure that you don’t forget to sprinkle sugar-in-the-raw over the top of your scones, as it gives them a really lovely crunchy texture. And oh….when serving these delectable little morsels, the Whiskey Butter is not optional. It is a requirement! Start St. Patrick’s Day off right and bake up a batch!

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Irish Coffee Scones with Whiskey Butter

recipe from: Buttercream Blondie

yield: 8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold & cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream

Directions:

Brew coffee & set aside to cool.

Combine dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Cut in cold, cubed butter.

Whisk eggs with cool coffee and Baileys.

Add to dry ingredients and mix till it comes together. This is a wet dough at first & kind of sticky.   It will come together.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface.

Pat dough out into a circle.  You can use a rolling pin if you want, I use my hands to shape it. ( I divided the dough in half and patted each dough half into a circle, for a more petite scone. This dough is quite sticky, so make sure your surface, as well as your hands are well floured.)

Slice dough into 8 wedges (or if you have divided the dough into two halves, cut it into 4 wedges) & refrigerate until ready to bake.  Make sure the dough is cold when it goes into the oven.

Brush with heavy cream & sprinkle with sugar in the raw.

Bake at 400° F  for 15-20 minutes, rotating once halfway through.

Whiskey Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish whiskey  (I used Jameson)
  • pinch of salt

Whip butter with whiskey and salt.

Enjoy!


Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread

December 8, 2012

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I know, I know. We’re getting close to the Christmas season and this Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread does have more of a Fall vibe to it, what with the apples and all. At least that is what you might think until you taste it. Then you will come to the realization that I did. This bread is so addictively delicious that it is appropriate, no…perhaps even required, any season of the year! Pull just one of the gooey, cinnamony, caramely, appley slices off  while it’s still warm from the oven and take a bite. You’ll see. It’s like one of those decadent cinnamon rolls, ‘cept better! And believe me, you won’t be able to stop with just one of the slices. No sir-ee. Before you know it, you’ll look down and find the loaf half gone and notice your britches seem to have suddenly shrunk as the top button pops off and shoots across the room. (I hear that fabric does tend to shrink when it gets colder.)

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It looks as though this recipe might be hard to make, what with all the steps, but it really comes together very easily. You don’t even have to worry about how you throw the cut dough pieces into the pan either. The bread is supposed to have that jumbled, rustic appearance. Not to mention, the basic Pull-Apart Bread of this recipe can be customized as well. Theresa at Craving Chronicles made a Peach Cinnamon & Brown Butter version. While Tracey at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures baked up a Cinnamon Sugar loaf. Get creative and come up with your own version. But you’ve gotta make this bread. And soon! You won’t be sorry!

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Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread

recipe from: Alaska from Scratch

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/4 cup or more, if needed)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the Apple Filling:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and diced

For the Caramel Glaze:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

To the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5-8 minutes until foamy.

In a microwave-safe dish, heat milk and butter together until butter is just melted. Add vanilla to the mixture and set aside.

Add flour, sugar and salt on top of the yeast mixture in mixing bowl. Turn mixer on low and add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Slowly stream the milk/butter/vanilla mixture into the bowl until a soft dough forms. Add extra flour by the tablespoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Turn mixer up to medium and knead the dough for 3 minutes. Remove dough from mixer bowl and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. Peel, core and dice the apple. Melt butter just before the dough has completed its rise. Grease a standard 9×5″ loaf pan.

Once risen, punch down dough, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll dough out into a large rectangle (roughly 12×24 inches). Dough will be fairly thin. Brush melted butter over top of dough. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 equal strips. Sprinkle about 1/6 of diced apples over one strip of dough, then stack another strip of dough on top. Repeat adding the apple mixture and stacking dough strips with remaining dough. Cut stacked strips into 6 equal stacks of squares. Stuff stacked squares vertically into prepared 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 30-45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat over to 350ºF. Bake about 35-45 minutes, or until no longer doughy in the center (bread should register 190ºF on an instant thermometer in the center when done). If bread starts to get too brown before it’s ready, cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by adding the butter, brown sugar and milk to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

Turn loaf out onto a rack with parchment paper under it. Drizzle load with the warm caramel glaze.

Enjoy!


Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

October 16, 2012

So Hello again! I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted anything and you may have been wondering what ever had happened to me. At least I hope someone has noticed my absence and I haven’t just been yammering away into some sort of online oblivion. I’m actually just back from a truly fantastic holiday in Ireland.

I will definitely be telling ya’ll a bit more about that as soon as I can get myself back into some sort of routine. You know how it is post holiday…However, I wrote this blog on Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes right before I was ready to leave for my trip. You see, I told myself I would have all of these posts done before I left and then I would just post remotely. Welllll…..that didn’t work. Seems I was sort of busy with everything else before leaving and did not manage to have several blog posts ready to go. I did manage to get this one written and have shaken off enough of my jet lag to add in the appropriate pictures, along with this disclaimer. But I’m certain I will get it together soon and be back to my old blogging habits. Until then, please take a peek at these lovely Fall Cupcakes.

Happy, happy, happy!!! Fall has arrived! Of course, here in Virginia the weather can’t seem to let go of those Summer temps. We’ll have one nice crisp day followed by a sticky, humid mess of a day. But I know Summer is on its way out, so I’m in a good mood. And Apples are in season! Apples are my favourite fruit, so I’ve got some great apple dishes in store for ya’ll! I thought I’d start it all off with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

My husband just recently celebrated a birthday and he requested these cupcakes in lieu of a big birthday cake. He tends to prefer the fruit desserts over any sort of chocolate concoction, so these cinnamon cupcakes, stuffed with apple pie filling, topped with salted caramel swiss buttercream frosting and drizzled with salted caramel sauce, seemed just perfect. I was excited to make them as well, since I myself love apples and have an obsession with cupcakes. However, my glee soon came to a screeching halt. I thought making up a batch of cupcakes would be a cinch. But it turned out to be anything but. Things started to go bad with the making of the salted caramel. First attempt = failure. A big, burnt, lumpy, sticky, smoky failure. Hmmm…I hadn’t ever had trouble making caramel before. I decided to give it another go. And…another failure! What was going on? Are my stars misaligned today? Trying to stay calm, I chose a different caramel recipe and told myself “third times the charm”. Not in this house! Another mess!! But I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I kept at it! You know…to the bitter end. Well to cut this long pitiful story short, after eventually getting the caramel right only to suffer an icing melt down, I was finally able to produce these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

I finished them at 11:58 p.m., so technically it was still my husband’s birthday. I promptly woke him up to have a bite of these little devils so that he would actually be able to say honestly that he had cupcakes on his birthday. Phew! But don’t worry, the recipe I have listed below, though cobbled together from a couple of sources is fool-proof. (and genuinely tested by a fool so I can tell you true!) You won’t end up like me, I promise. And these cupcakes are truly delicious. Just the thing to get you in the Fall mood.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

recipe from: Craving Chronicles and Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Apple Pie Filling: (From Craving Chronicles)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1.5 pounds (approx.) Honey Crisp apples (about 4 medium), peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugars, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices – about 10 minutes. In a small bowl or glass, combine cornstarch and water. Add to apples and stir, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. (Cover and refrigerate overnight if making ahead.)

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: (from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Add the sugar, corn syrup and water to a medium saucepan and stir gently to combine. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture registers 350 F on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer cook until the mixture is amber in color). Turn off the heat under the pan and slowly add the cream (the caramel will bubble up quite a bit so be mindful) then the fleur de sel. Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool before using – you could even refrigerate for a bit so it’s not quite as thin when you go to fill the cupcakes.

For the Cinnamon Cupcakes: (From Craving Chronicles who adapted it from Annie’s Eats)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add milk mixture and vanilla, and beat until blended.

Divide evenly among baking tins. Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream: (From Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-8 tablespoon salted caramel sauce

Directions:

Add the butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk to combine. Place the mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water, and, whisking constantly, heat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved. You can test by rubbing a bit between your fingers – it shouldn’t feel gritty at all.

Put the bowl on the mixer, and starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, beat the egg white mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form – this will take about 8-10 minutes, and the bowl should feel cool to the touch when you’ve finished. Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed, and gradually add the butter, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

With the mixer still on medium-low, gradually add 6 tablespoons of the salted caramel sauce, and continue beating until it is completely incorporated. Taste the frosting, and if you want a stronger caramel flavor, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce.

Cupcake Assembly Instructions:

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, hollow out a bit of the center of each cake. You can do this with a small paring knife, an apple corer or a special cupcake corer tool. Fill each hole with cooled Apple Pie Filling. Pipe Salted Caramel Buttercream onto each cupcake. Drizzle with cooled Salted Caramel Sauce.

Enjoy!


Campfire Delight Cake

October 2, 2012

I said I was going to make it and make it I did! Remember back a few months ago I made Campfire Delight Cupcakes? They were fantastic and I noticed that they were a spin-off from a Campfire Delight Cake, which I couldn’t resist taking a peek at. And WOW!  That cake was a monster! We’re talking SIX layers of alternating rich chocolate cake, silky chocolate malted frosting and creamy toasted marshmallow frosting. Good Lord help us! What can I say? I knew I just had to make it.

I recently got the opportunity and gave it a try. Now making this cake isn’t for the weak of heart, or endurance. I completed it over two days, baking the cakes on the first and then refrigerating them overnight so that the layers would be easier to cut in half. The second day I made the frostings and assembled.

Phew! It is a big ole cake. When I sliced it, I found it wouldn’t even fit properly on a dessert plate. Nope, not this big boy. It needed the full on dinner plate. It looked truly stunning and tasted pretty phenomenal as well. If you’ve got a special occasion coming up, make this cake. Folks will be delighted.

Campfire Delight Cake

recipe from: Sweetapolita

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups strong black coffee
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour three 9″ cake pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine all dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and with the paddle attachment, mix for two minutes on medium speed. Batter will be quite thin.

Pour equal amounts of batter into prepared pans. I use my kitchen scale to try to get it as close as possible.

Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate pans. Cakes are done when toothpick comes out clean. About 35 – 40 minutes.

Cool cakes in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently turn cakes out to wire rack to cool completely.

For the Toasted-Marshmallow Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 16 large white marshmallows
  • 1 cup powdered or confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks, 1 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. of Marshmallow Fluff

Directions:

Place marshmallows on baking sheet which has been lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place tray under broiler and broil marshmallow until they are light brown on top. Watch them closely as they will burn very quickly. Once tops are toasted, remove tray from oven and gently flip marshmallows over and broil other side. Remove from oven and sit aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and icing sugar on low until blended. Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.

Set aside.

For the Malted Chocolate Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups of confectioners’ or powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Ovaltine or malted milk powder
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar and butter. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and malt powder and beat on low until combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat on medium high speed for another minute.

Assembly Instructions:

Split each of the 9″ layer cakes in half. This will be easier to do if the cake is cold. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. I use a Wilton Cake leveler to divide the layers. However, this can be done with a good quality serrated knife. First trim any doming off the top of each layer. Then measure each layer and create a score line at the halfway mark all the way around the outside of the cake. Working from eye-level to the cake gently cut towards the center of the cake, then turn 1/4 turn and repeat until you have cut through the entire layer.

Place first layer in the center of a cake board. Slide a bit of wax paper just under the edge until all of the cake board is covered. These bits of wax paper will protect the cake board from stray bits of icing which may fall while you are decorating it. Cover the first layer with 1/3 of the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting. Top with second layer and cover top of that layer with the Malted Chocolate Frosting. Continue to alternate frostings covering the top most layer with Malted Chocolate frosting. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining Malted Chocolate Frosting. Remove the wax paper cake board protectors. Decorate the top with small marshmallows, chocolate chips, jimmies or Whopper or Malteser candies as you desire.

Enjoy!


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