Archive for October, 2014

Happy Halloween, here’s a bar (not a Twix)!

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I made a bar/hutch thing in my  kitchen this fall from a shelf I found in my dark, antiquated basement, and I’m pretty pleased with it. Thought you oughta know. The bottles look like candy apples.


Pipe Dream #297: To Fellowship Embarrassingly – Banana Streusel Muffins + Anthro


All I care about right now is the word “fellowship,” which is a totally Christian way to say “hanging out with friends,” except that it means more than that and runs much deeper and is an extremely important life necessity that somehow made its way onto a dishtowel (which is so perfect because food can be a sweet element of fellowship) sold on the not-so-Christian Anthropologie website.

How did this happen? Anthropologie, how have you managed to figure out your customer base (me) so exactly that you can literally cater to my every whim and desire? With a single dishtowel, you have mastered me, personally and professionally. Your marketing research and command of all platforms traditional and social have reduced me, a stingy communications professional hardened to the wiles of all advertisements, to buying your wares at full price without batting an eyelash.

I love this dishtowel. I love fellowship. And I love these muffins, mostly because of their streusel top.


Which I made in a MN mug. Shout out to all my MN friends with whom I try to fellowship on the regular.


This recipe makes an odd amount of muffins. Seven muffins, in fact. I think that if you doubled it, you could make 12 large muffins, or 14 regular size muffins. Give 12 a shot if you only have one muffin tin, eh?

I thought the streusel was a bit floury for my taste, but maybe I forgot to add some sugar or something. I don’t think so, but you never know. Imagine all the mistakes you are aware of. There have to be others that you don’t know about, like when you send a paper for proofreading and it comes back with the most obvious spelling mistake in the title corrected.

Side story: I spelled ’embarrassing’ wrong for years. One ‘r.’ I forget how I figured this out. It was sometime in college.


Embarassingly so,


Banana Streusel Muffins

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes 7 muffins, easily doubled to 14

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large banana, well-mashed
1/3 cup milk

For the crumb topping:
2 big tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with seven liners.
To make the crumb topping, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter until combined, then use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour. The mixture will be crumb-like and dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg and brown sugar together until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla extract, butter and banana, whisking again until combined. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in the milk and mix until just combined. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full with batter

Sprinkle the crumb evenly on top of the muffins.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops are no longer wet and become slightly golden. Remove and let cool until cool to the touch.

Shadowplay & heaven

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A lot of my pictures are making heavy use of darkness lately. Not tenebrism, which I was reminded is basically my favorite thing. Tenebrism is like heaven. It’s the promise of something hidden that, when revealed, will be so bright and beautiful. It makes me just want to  remove the covering, throw back the curtains, find the source of LIGHT. We haven’t quite made it yet, folks, but tenebrism is a reminder in the waiting.

Also, #tbt to my grandparent’s beautiful house, nearly unchanged in the five years since I’ve seen it. Full of curiosities.


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Pipe Dream #296: To Not Be A Basic White Girl – Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Pound Cake


My friend told me she went to Caribou to order a PSL, and they were like, “Sorry, I think we’re out of that…for the season.” What the what??

First of all, how? It was only the beginning of October. Poor, poor logistical PSL planning. Second of all, why would you say that? Like she will ever be coming back to the store until Peppermint White Chocolate Mochas come out in November. Bad, bad, customer loyalty strategy.

And don’t tell me you don’t enjoy the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte because all the “basic white girls” are way too into them, and you are definitely not a basic white girl. You are.

Ok, so you’re not. But you do like them. I know you do. Here you go:

pump pound cake 1


I can’t tell what this cake is. I know I titled this a “pound cake,” as did the original recipe creator (cake). And the recipe is, by all means, a finnickish cake method of whipping and folding (cake), rather than a simpler dump-and-stir quick bread. But where is all the butter typically found in pound cakes? It’s been replaced in large part by…greek yogurt. Protein cake masquerading as pound cake.

Another thing: all these pics are orange with a tinge of blue (bonus points for complementary colors wheel baking). Are you a hot or cold cake? Filled with warm spices or touched by a bit of freezer frost?

pump pound cake 2



I thought I was being, like, ultra-brill in using this salted caramel greek yogurt. I thought it would add interesting flavor. Turns out, it was average-brill. I couldn’t taste it, but I’m sure the full-fat yogurt did loads for the moistness of the cake. I’m sure you could try this with low-fat yogurt, but I’m guessing it would not be as good. It’s like switching skim milk for half and half in your coffee. Perfectly adequate, but just not as satisfying.

I’ll try and be ultra-brill/not basic next week.



One definitely ultra-brill thing that happened: slathering a warm slice of this bread with bourbon maple syrup like I was eating pancakes made of pound cake. Legit, if you ever try French-toasting pound cake (like this angel food cake I did once), please let me know about it.


Gone in sixty seconds,


Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Pound Cake

Adapted from I Wash…You Dry

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1/2 cup salted caramel Greek yogurt (full fat)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Remove the eggs, butter, and yogurt from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take the chill off.

Grease and lightly flour an 8″x4″x2.5″ loaf pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat for a minute on high speed. Gradually add the sugar and let it mix on medium-high speed for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Once the butter is light and fluffy, add the vanilla and beat for about 30 seconds. Add one egg at a time, beating for 1 minute between each egg.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice, whisking to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture, blending until just combined. Add one-half of the Greek yogurt, then one-half of the pumpkin puree, blending until just combined. Repeat the additions, ending with the final one-third of the flour mixture. Remember to scrap the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure it’s being properly incorporated.

Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 325 for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and let cool to room temperature. Once cake is completely cool, cover and let sit over night, wrap well and freeze or enjoy immediately.

Pipe Dream #295: To Produce Something from Nothing, Revisited – Whole Wheat Maple Pecan Cookies


Another angle on this whole “I’m too good at baking” problem (excuse my vanity, another issue):

I have an overabundance of ideas in my head for new recipes made with existing leftover ingredients.

In the case of these bored baking cookies, this was not too sad a problem, because my mind has been awhirl with the toasty flavors of fall lately, and I love it. The maple/pecan/whole wheat combo hearty and warm, and paired with a maple glaze? Well, I’ll be making these again sooner than later.


They are kind of the cookie version of these maple pecan cupcakes that stay impossibly moist and have a super authentic maple flavor. It’s because of the GRADE A GRADE B PURE WISCONSIN MN maple syrup. I don’t know what kind of syrup I used. I think it was from Trader Joe’s.


And speaking of maple syrup, I also have a tiny bottle of this in my cupboard right now. Tonic, how appropriate. I didn’t even know it was such a hot, trendy, hipster item until after I bought it. I couldn’t resist the idea of maple bourbon pancakes. I’ll let you know how that turns out.


Sayonara, sweethearts,


Whole Wheat Maple Pecan Cookies

An LH Original

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other oil)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

1 teaspoon molasses

2 ounces chopped pecans

Whisk together the syrup and oil in a medium bowl, then whisk in the flax seed until everything is well combined. Let this sit.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the white sugar, maple extract and molasses into the syrup/oil mixture, then stir in the flour mixture until a dough forms. If the dough is super dry, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of milk. The dough should be thick. Stir in the pecans.

Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for maybe 4-5 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flatten each cookie slightly by pressing with a fork. Return to the oven and bake for another few minutes until the cookies look just set.

Remove from the oven and let cool. If desired, glaze with a maple glaze. I melted a 1/2 tablespoon butter, stirred in maybe a quarter cup of powdered sugar, then added 1/4 teaspoon maple extract and milk (a teaspoon at a time, until the glaze reaches your desired consistency.

Pipe Dream #295: To Produce Something From Nothing – Espresso Bean Peanut Butter Banana Cookies


I recently articulated a problem that I have. A baking problem. Not too interesting to the public, maybe, but ah well. I mean, I could articulate all of my more scandalous  personal problems for you, but this is a baking blog, so you’ll have to elicit an answer to that question through another form of contact if you are interested.

P.S. Blogging is so one-sided. Well, this blog anyway. Other bloggers actually, like, try to inspire comments. Sorry guys, I don’t have a KitchenAid/bourbon/Fiji trip comments contest giveaway anytime soon. :] Anyway, I’ll just keep on about problems that you may or may not want to know about.


Here it is: I’ve gotten good at baking. Too good, I personally might say. I’m not saying this in like an ultra-proud-am-a-fancy-pastry-chef-amazing-zen-master kind of way either, but I have to be honest: I can make a cookie out of nothing. Like, I can literally have two items in my pantry and magically produce cookies. Cookies that are actually good. Like not these banana breakfast cookie things that everyone says you can eat for breakfast and pretend like you’re eating dessert, but honest to goodness chewy crispy underbaked overstuffed discs of wonderful.

And before you ask me why in heaven’s name this is a problem (doesn’t this solve every last minute party dessert/houseguest/midnight snack craving/budget problem in the world, Lauren?), I will tell you. I will interrupt your question with an answer. I am disregarding my “listening skills” goal right now. I just need to get this out.

Sometimes the kitchen calling should be ignored. Sometimes I don’t need to make cookies. Sometimes my time would be better spent chatting with a friend, washing my sheets or memorizing the lyrics to all the classic rock songs I missed as a kid so I can understand cultural references. Being able to make a cookie out of nothing means that I can indulge a bored baking habit whenever I want and miss these other things.


These banana cookies were totally bored baking. I had some overripe bananas and the end of a block of cream cheese to use up, and I was sick of staring at the chocolate-covered espresso beans in my cupboard for over a year, so I turned them into a cookie. I was, of course, fairly pleased with the result. Very cakey and thick and satisfyingly cookie-ish with a glass of milk. Plus the peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Ahem.

On the flipside, never mind the marshmallow-topped chocolate goodies on the side. Those were made of a combination of clear-out-this-pantry pudding mix and cocoa powder, and they rank among the worst cookies I’ve ever produced.

Still having pipe dreams,


Cakey Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 ripe medium bananas, mashed

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips/white chocolate chips/chocolate covered coffee beans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together cooled peanut butter and butter with both sugars until combined. Whisk in egg yolk and vanilla extract until smooth. Add in the mashed banana and mix until combined. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing with a large spoon until a dough forms, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Shape the dough into the size of a golfball (approximately) and place on a nonstick baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden and the middles are puffy and underbaked. Let cool.
I also frosted a few of these with a scaled down version of this cream cheese peanut butter frosting. DO THIS.

Favorite Shots: About That Time

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It’s about that time again.


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