Pucker Up | Meyer Lemon Bars with Rosemary Pine Nut Shortbread

Bright lemon flavor shines against the subtle resinous backdrop of rosemary-pine nut shortbread in these Meyer Lemon Bars.

Lemon Bars with Rosemary Pine Nut Shorbread | Flour Arrangements

One year ago, while I was coveting the fruit on my neighbors’ citrus trees, I never dreamed that the small Meyer lemon tree we planted in our front yard would crank out so many lemons in such a short time.  While we don’t have quite enough for the lemonade stand of my kids’ dreams, we certainly have enough for baking plenty of dessert.

Lemon bars seemed like a great place to start with these tangy, almost-sweet Meyers.  As I set out to pick lemons, I couldn’t help snipping a few rosemary sprigs to chop up and add to the shortbread mixture. And since the lemon-rosemary-pine nut combination is such a hit in one of our favorite shortbread recipes, it seemed only right to add pine nuts to the recipe as well.

Lemon Bars with Rosemary Pine Nut Shorbread | Flour Arrangements [Read more…]

Going Bananas | Banana-Chocolate Blondies

Full of sweet banana flavor and bursts of deep, rich chocolate, these Banana-Chocolate Blondies take this great flavor combination to new heights. Penuche frosting and a drizzle of chocolate add tempting, extraordinary flair to these tasty little bars.

Banana-Chocolate Blondies with Penuche Frosting | Flour Arrangements

My husband’s sister sent him a text the other day: “Tell Suzanne I made banana blondies with penuche frosting yesterday.  It came to me like a dream.”  I’ve often heard her talk about trying to replicate her mom’s penuche frosting — also called brown sugar or caramel frosting — but since she never liked the spice cake that her mom always frosted with it, she’s been casting about for the perfect medium for this ambrosia.  I was totally with her on the banana blondie idea, and here’s best part: she said the frosting perfectly replicated her childhood memory of penuche.

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Ants Go Marching | Ant-Proofing Sweeteners and Baked Goods

Creating makeshift moats is a simple way of ant-proofing sweeteners and baked goods during an ant invasion.  All you need are containers and water.

Ant-Proofing Sweeteners & Baked Goods

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived though a serious ant invasion.  I’d almost forgotten what it felt like.  Almost. It’s all coming back to me though as the ants continue their vigilant effort to find every last crumb in our entire house.

It turns out that letting your kids decorate your Christmas tree with candy canes is a really bad idea. As we made merry and enjoyed the season, the ants did, too, feasting unnoticed on the wrapped candies gracing our tree.  Judging by the caves and tunnels carved out beneath the plastic coating, they’d been at it for quite some time.

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Energy Bars | Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Espresso powder and Kahlua work their magic in these dense Chocolate Espresso Brownies. Kahlua frosting and a chocolate-Kahlua glaze make them irresistible.

Chocolate Espresso Brownies | Flour Arrangements

If there’s any chance you’ll be up late on Christmas Eve with toy-assembly duty, you’re going to need these Chocolate Espresso Brownies. I know you’re already up to your eyeballs in cookies and cakes, but trust me on this one.  They’ll save you time and effort since they combine your coffee and chocolate in convenient bite-sized pieces.  And if you can get your kids to load up a plate for Santa before they go to bed, you can even save yourself a trip to the kitchen.

Both espresso powder and Kahlua infuse these dense chocolate brownies with coffee goodness. They’re studded with chocolate chips, topped with Kahlua frosting, and drizzled with a chocolate-Kahlua glaze.  Even without the caffeine-hit to keep you going, these brownies will deliver you through the “some-assembly-required” proceedings with enough composure to keep everyone around you in the holiday spirit.

Chocolate Espresso Brownies | Flour Arrangements

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Cracking Up | Ginger Millet Crackers

Millet seeds give these subtly-spiced, hint-of-citrus crackers extra crunch. Serve Ginger Millet Crackers with double cream brie and hot pepper jelly for a great party snack. 

Ginger Millet Crackers | Flour Arrangements

So much festivity these days. I love gathering with friends and family to catch up and EAT, EAT, EAT!  Am I the only one who tries unsuccessfully to get extra exercise at this time of year so I can dig into everyone’s holiday fare with serious gusto?  Call me a glutton, but I dig in anyway.  I figure I’ll make up for my bad behavior in January with all the standard resolutions about getting to the gym and eating healthier food.

And just in case you’re thinking that these Ginger Millet Crackers — made with hippy seeds and no added sugar — seem amiss at this indulgent time of year, never fear.  We’re going to serve them with double cream brie and hot pepper jelly!

Ginger Millet Crackers | Flour Arrangements [Read more…]

Smashing | Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Deep and rich, this Peppermint Chocolate Cake gets a cool, refreshing burst from both peppermint extract and schnapps. Topped with peppermint ganache and crushed candy canes, it’s a breathtaking holiday dessert.

Peppermint Chocolate Cake | Flour Arrangements

Much to my kids’ dismay, I rarely frequent the candy aisle at the grocery store.  I bake too much cake and pie to want to mess around with candy most of the time, but I needed some candy canes to crush as topping for this Chocolate Peppermint Cake the other day.  As I marched into the sugary confection section, I learned something completely astonishing:  broken candy canes are totally a thing you can buy.

I have to hand it to those candy makers.  Imagine the sheer mass of candy cane wreckage piling up in their factories.  I wonder who first thought, “Let’s market the broken stuff to all those people crushing up candy canes for their peppermint bark and other holiday treats”? Good on him or her.

Peppermint Chocolate Cake | Flour Arrangements

Here’s the thing, though.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy them.  I don’t often get to smash things, and I wanted to smash my own candy canes, dammit.  It’s so satisfying, especially if you remember to do it in a plastic bag so the candy shards don’t go flying all over the kitchen.

I came home with two packages of candy canes. My kids had asked if we could hang some on the tree, which really means they hope to snack on this Christmas tree fruit when I’m not looking.  Good on them.  Sometimes I can be nice. [Read more…]

Muffin Makeover | Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins

Full of aromatic rosemary, salty prosciutto, and mozzarella cheese, these savory Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins are great for snacking on or for nibbling alongside a warm bowl of soup.

Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins | Flour Arrangements

Have I mentioned that my kids refuse to eat sandwiches in their lunches?  Their elementary school doesn’t allow peanuts on campus, and this means the beloved peanut butter & jelly sandwich is totally off limits.  Sure, I could send ham & cheese or tuna sandwiches along with them, but they’d never eat them.

Since I’m the one who suffers when my daughters come home starved and crabby, I’ve had to get creative with their lunches. Not cutesy Bento box creative, mind you — I’ve just had to come up with ways to pack my kids full of protein without the simplicity of the peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

Enter Rosemary & Prosciutto Muffins.

Prosciutto & Rosemary Muffins | Flour Arrangements

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Cream of the Crop | Creamed Turkey and Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles

Creamed turkey and thyme-cornmeal waffles combine their warm, comforting flavors in a simple, satisfying meal. Topped with cranberry sauce and green beans, this dish is a perfect use for Thanksgiving leftovers!

Creamed Turkey with Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles | Flour Arrangementsd turkey with waffles-5

Leftovers are one the best parts of Thanksgiving.  Of course I love spending time with family and friends and gathering around a big table for an awesome feast, but Thanksgiving leftovers draw out my feelings of gratitude for days and days.

As I indulge in a plate of leftover turkey loaded with all the traditional fixings, I can’t help but feel grateful about having a family of friends and friends who are like family.

Creamed Turkey with Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles | Flour Arrangements

And while I could cheerfully eat turkey dinner day in and day out, it’s hard not to see Thanksgiving leftovers as creative opportunities.  Roasted turkey, especially, is like a blank canvas with endless culinary possibilities — pizza, pot pie, enchiladas, salads, soups, you name it.  And here’s one of the best things about creating meals with leftovers:  since the main ingredients are already prepped and ready to go, these recipes are that much easier to prepare.

In anticipation of all those leftovers-to-come next week, I did some experimenting with Creamed Turkey and Thyme-Cornmeal Waffles.  My family already loves eating breakfast waffles for dinner, so it was about time we added savory waffles to our repertoire.    [Read more…]

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