TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins

I had such high hopes for these, but they failed me on various levels:

Allspice Crumb Muffins

1) My crumbs were runny, turning to crusty when the muffins cooled.

2)  The muffins were excellent warm, but kind of dry when they cooled off. I needed coffee to go with them later in the week. Would the lemon zest have made a difference? I didn’t have any in the house!

3) Without the crumbs, the muffins were kind of dull. Nice with coffee, but not the kind of thing I was eager to eat in the car on the way to the train in the morning.

But I have high hopes for the sweet potato biscuits I’ll make Sunday when I return from Nashville!

TWD: Tiramisu cake parfaits

Like many of my TWD colleagues, the idea of having a whole cake in my house is not appealing. I’m not really the kind of person who makes a whole cake just for fun, and so rather than gobble the whole thing down it tends to dry out and tie up valuable real estate in my refrigerator. This is especially gross when the cake has a lot of dairy it in that gets crusty and makes the whole fridge smell.

Tiramisu cake

A parfait, on the other hand, lasts mere hours before my will power caves in an I am licking the glass clean (no wonder the dessert’s name translates to “perfect”). Many thanks to Megan of My Baking Adventures for picking this week’s Tiramisu Cake recipe recipe, and posting it on her blog. Tiramisu literally means “pick-me-up” and even though I left out all of the espresso powder the pure pleasure of indulging in this treat on a sunny Sunday evening lifted my spirits.

I spread Dorie’s fabulous vanilla cake batter into a 13×9 baking pan and made a really shallow sheet cake that I cubed and tossed into parfait glasses (which I had previously purchased at the local church-run consignment store for 25 cents each). I scrapped the espresso syrup and extract in favor of Starbucks liqueur I had in the house, and layered the cake with the filling and the mini chocolate chips, as Dorie recommended.  It was a hit at Sunday dinner with The Other Eater in my household and his mom! Light and fluffy, just the right portions and not too rich to stomach after a nice dinner and a walk through the neighborhood on one of the first really great spring days of the year.

(Earlier in the meal we tore into the [frozen] fresh mango bread that my TWD colleagues will be making later this month – what a treat! More about that later….)

TWD: Caramel Crunch Bars

These, I must say, have been a mixed bag.

Caramel Crunch Bars

Initially, I was disappointed with them. The instant coffee in the batter was too strong.  The thin cookie was too crisp. The toffee pieces got stuck in my teeth.

But this being the second day they have been in my cake dome, sliced (some broken) and ready for snacking at a moment’s notice, I feel much better about them. As in, I can’t stop eating them. But that may be because I doubled the chocolate on top.

Let me explain.

As you can see from the recipe (Thanks to Whitney, who chose the cookies we all baked this week and will post the recipe), the thin and buttery pan cookie is baked, topped with chocolate ( I used milk chocolate bars rather than the bittersweet chocolate Dorie recommended) to melt, and then sprinkled with toffee. However, I got sidetracked in the kitchen and I forgot the toffee!  When I discovered my mistake 24 hours later, I topped the cookies with another candy bar, returned them to the oven to melt the chocolate, and then sprinkled them with the toffee.

It was fine.  I sliced most of them and broke several along the way, and now am enjoyed them each and every time I walk into the kitchen….got to pass the cake dome to get to the fridge, the laundry room, the kitchen sink…. They’re not my favorite, but they’ll do.

In the meantime, my TWD posts will be few and far between for a while, as I will be moving!  Cross your fingers for good weather at the end of March.

In the Spirit

It’s definitely fall where I live (dark mornings, fog, apples at the farmers markets, etc), and some of the neighbors have started pulling out the Halloween decorations. But this is just gross.

As the Iowa-based Gazette reports, An Eastern Iowa woman had more of a jolt than usual from her morning coffee when she found a BAT IN THE COFFEE GROUNDS.


The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that the woman had seen a bat in her house, but wasn’t particularly concerned about it.

She turned on her automatic coffee maker, went to bed and drank her coffee as usual the next morning.

When she removed the coffee filter that night, however, she discovered a dead bat in the filter that had gone through that morning’s brew cycle.

The woman received rabies shots as a precaution because the brewing process obliterated most of the bat’s brain, which is what they use to test the animal for rabies.