If you secretly make trips to Red Lobster just so you can stuff your with their famous, melt-in-your-mouth buttery Cheddar Bay Biscuits, here’s some good news for the new year: now you can make (and enjoy) them in your own home! (Recipe here.)
9. Slutty Cheesecake Bars
A thick layer of chocolate chip blondie, rich cheesecake on top, and whole Oreos crammed all throughout give these infamous bars their name. One of the very first recipes that I posted on Wallflour Girl (note the tacky rainbow wrapping paper backdrop) and still one of the most popular after five years! (Recipe here.)
8. Extra-Fudgy Kahlua Brownies with Kahlua Icing
I’m not a booze kind of girl…usually. But put a plate of these extremely fudgy Kahlua brownies (and maybe a White Russian!) in front of me and they’ll be gone before you can say “boozy.” (Recipe here.)
7. The Very BEST Tiramisu (from America’s Test Kitchen)
My shortlist for best recipe sources is, well, short–but I would trust America’s Test Kitchen with my first-born baby. This simple but authentic tiramisu recipe is the best that I’ve ever made and constantly requested at family functions! (Recipe here.)
6. Idiot-Proof Healthy Chocolate Chip Bars
Here’s an idiot-proof recipe that you can hand off to even the most baking-illiterate of your friends! These one-bowl, dump-and-stir chocolate chip oat bars are healthy, too, making them perfect for kicking off a brand new year. (Recipe here.)
5. Hawaiian Chantilly Layer Cheesecake Cake
This recipe holds a special place in my heart: inspired by one late-night, post-movie dinner conversation at Lenny’s Deli, my ex shared his fond memories of a dessert known as Chantilly cake.… Read more
Posts might be sparse around here these weeks, but food is most definitely not in short supply! Part of the reason for this is because I just got back from a Charles Dickens conference in Santa Cruz, where 300 Victorianists from all over the world congregated to discuss Dickens’ 1848 novel Dombey and Son and lament the dining hall food in tearful, poetic unison. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from our week-long stint, it’s that no academic event is complete without good, old-fashioned booze–and lots of it! Which, of course, makes these booze-soaked chocolate Kahlua rum balls supertopical and super-duper intellectual.
As we say in the academic world: don’t be simplistic, but do be simple. While not every lecture during this conference adhered to this rule (though the wonderful majority of them did!), you can bet your Victorian ball gown that this simple chocolaty, silky, boozy dessert does. (Have I mentioned that it’s no-bake?) All you need are five minutes and six ingredients: crumbled brownies, walnuts, light corn syrup, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and–oh yeah–lots of rum. Rum to your heart’s delight. One days, two days, rummy days. Rum, Forrest, Rum!
Meanwhile, I’m off to recover from the, er, festivities, but never fear–I’ll be back soon! After an entire week of 18-hour days, Victorian-themed (dance) parties all night every night, and endless socializing with some of the most amazing people on this planet, though, I’m ready for a bit of well-earned R&R. Not that you’ll miss me much: just make sure you make these silky chocolate bites every few days or so and I’ll be back before you notice!
After last year’s Calvin and Hobbes success, I gave myself exactly two days before I started brewing up ideas for this year’s festival. The idea behind the Edible Book Festival is simple: pick a book, create a food display inspired by the book, and show it off to a happy, hungry public. Perfecto, no?
Now is a self-proclaimed amateur connoisseur of both children’s literature and baked goods, you can imagine the sort of schoolgirl high I get every time the end of March rolls around. I mean, edible books? You might as well slap my name all over the marketing flyers and call it a day.
This year I decided to go the literal route and use the book that’s chock filled with edible references. Growing up, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn’t on my list of favorite books–it wasn’t even on my radar until the seventh grade, and by then I wanted nothing to do with the grotesque author who had written abominably disturbing works such as The Witches. (I mean, have you read that book? Yeesh!)
In fact, it wasn’t until I began teaching children’s literature at the university level that I read the novel in its entirety – once, then twice, then five times and ten. I couldn’t get over all the zany demises of Charlie’s rivals, or the wonderfully awful Quentin Blake illustrations accompanying these descriptions – and let’s face it: a book all about chocolate? Twelve-year-old self, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???
Once the cogs started turning, there was no chance in holy fudge tarnations that they were going to stop. I knew I wanted to do a display inspired by my favorite part of the books: the tragic disappearances of each of the four naughty children who enter Willy Wonka’s factory.… Read more
Last Thursday, apparently I lost my wallet. I did not know I lost my wallet. In fact, if I hadn’t received the email from the police department the following afternoon, I probably would not have noticed until I was late for an important meeting and could not find my wallet anywhere.
But I did not know. So the email was all like, Surprise! We gotz yer wallet! Come an’ get it. Humdiddlydum, Police Guys.
And I was all: ……….Oh.
So after somehow muddling on my boots and feeling pretty nervous, I mucked down to the police station where they had my wallet. It’s actually a simple process–thankfully for my mental well-being–and the first thought I had when I got my wallet and opened it up was, Thank GOD, good people DO exist!
Everything was still in it, exactly as I’d left it. The police had taken out my cash and ID to put in a little plastic baggy ostentatiously labeled “EVIDENCE,” but aside from that, all was well with the world. Or at least with my wallet. I almost kissed the police officer in happiness, but I hurried away before I could give in to the impulse and be arrested for unmeditated assault.
Before I left, I asked where and when they had found it, and the officer told me it had been around one of the streets near Trader Joe’s. Somebody had turned it in about 5 minutes after I passed that spot the night before.
I thought back.
The last place I could remember pulling out my wallet to use was at TJ’s, when I decided to stop by to grab groceries after a nighttime gym run. It was almost closing time, so I was the second-to-last customer in line for the express lane.… Read more
It’s clear what kind of a spinster I will be: not an old batty cat lady (I’m allergic to cats), but a decrepit little woman who bakes Coconut Rum Blondies at 4 AM after finishing a terrible Ginnifer Goodwin rom-com alone on my couch.
On the bright side, there are worse things. For example, I could be an old hag who runs around on her neighbor’s lawns scattering apple tree seeds and shouting at the top of my voice: “The British are coming! The British are coming!”
Or I could be without these blondies, and that’d be a crying shame, don’t you think?
Thankfully, a few nights ago I was chatting with one of my best friends and unofficial psychotherapist H, who finally talked me out of my three-week shlump. To celebrate my release from the fetters of romantic comedy films, I decided to start a dedicated Me-Time journal for the next 21 days, where I can write my scattered thoughts about the day’s events. However, it’s only Day 1 and I’ve already filled 8 pages with musings on life! Who knew anything actually buzzed in this tiny brain of mine, right?
One thing I realized over the course of those eight pages was that a) I’ve actually had a really amazing week, and b) I love the feeling of meeting and keeping in touch with new people. There’s something incredibly liberating about getting to know someone who has no preconceptions about who you are except what you show them while you’re chatting–in the past 3 days alone, I’ve met & become (at least Facebook) friends with 2 folks in Starbucks, 2 guys from an international siblings program, and at least a handful of really wonderful people from my friend J’s recent PhD graduation party.… Read more
Every once in a while, a truly remarkable event happens that reminds you appreciate in life. The day I met K was one such moment. In reality, the first time we met was at the Edible Book Festival at our school’s library, though I wouldn’t have recognized her face with all the nice folks streaming in and out of the rotunda. We reconnected after K entered my From My Kitchen to Yours care package giveaway–she found my blog through cards I had been giving out at the festival and, by some crazy chance, decided to start reading. Who says that serendipity can only happen to John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale? For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the photo and story I posted. I hope you don’t mind if I repeat myself here, but this is definitely a story worth sharing.
Congrats to Kathlene and Ivy for winning two AWESOME personalized care packages in last week’s giveaway! I can’t wait to create an epic assortment of goodies for you both!
I really dislike chocolate cupcakes.
Wait, say what?
It’s funny how we all define the good things in life so differently. Back when kids used to bring boxes of assorted cupcakes to celebrate their birthday, I loved to ogle (okay, creepy) and watch each student make the all-important decision of which type of cupcake to take–chocolate with vanilla frosting?
Last week I shared with you the enormously successful Edible Books Festival that our library hosts every year around the beginning of April.
Well, today I’m sharing two award-winning recipes: Soaked coconut poke cake, and Kahlua rum cake!
(Don’t forget: WG’s personalized care package giveaway ends tomorrow, 4/22–hurry and enter!)
(Photograph: Shaking hands with Jonathan Gold, the LA Times restaurant critic, acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winner in criticism, and source of smart writing/eating-as-a-career validation to boot.)
I am unapolegetically posting these photos of my Calvin & Hobbes-inspired entries–after spending basically 50 hours planning & executing my interactive cakes/cookies/displays, my hands were so unsteady that I could barely hold my DSLR straight!
Anyway, these four entries–my Doomed Snowman coconut poke cake, 2 sugar cookie jigsaw puzzles featuring Calvin & Hobbes, a large Kahlua rum bundt cake that could be spun on a cake turntable, and a tray of chocolate ‘dirt’ for finding treasure–ended up taking home the cake (hah!) with two awards: Best Tasting and Best Student Entry. Today I’m posting the two recipes that I think were most impressive in the taste category…
One of the things I love most about blogging is licking the bowl afterwards having the chance to sit down and tell a story. Food blogging in particular trains us to write good content: it gives you brain fuel (i.e. cake), patience (actually waiting for your cake to cool completely before frosting it), creativity (transforming your 5th over-crumbly cake into gorgeous cake balls), and really good storytelling skills (explaining to your parents the philosophical implications of writing your baking blog when you really should be reading Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter).
As I slipped into the final books for my Part I Exam children’s literature list, I’ve been thinking more and more about the relationship between text and pictures. A few of my most recent conference proposals deal with the tension nonsense illustrations evoke when read against nonsense language, as well as the stories that text and pictures tell–collaboratively or competitively–when viewed in conjunction. After all, who could forget the full-page spreads of the gigantic yellow-eyed horned monsters we meet alongside Maxin Where the Wild Things Are, or that now-famous red-and-white striped hatwhen the Cat sallies into the rainy-day room?
In a lovely recent comment that made my heart giggle and feet flutter, a reader wrote that my use of text on photographs was the best she had ever seen (!). I was obviously elated–not only because of the tiny ego boost this prompted, but because I truly believe that the interplay between text and images is a crucial one for storytelling–and I’m glad that it has caught somebody’s eye, both figuratively and literally. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear their murmurs over the incessant buzz of daily life and the roaring internet. In a new year and with new updates around every corner, I hope you continue to find the whispered tales these photo-stories tell worth listening to.… Read more
YOU. Yes, you sitting there with your finger hovering over the mouse ready to click away at a moment’s notice and sneak cyber-stealthily away before reading the rest of this post. YOU WILL WANT TO STAY FOR THIS.
(Besides, MY TIRAMISU SEES YOU. So still those finicky fingers while I tell you about a fail-proof tiramisu recipe you just have to make. I do NOT use the appellation “very best” lightly.)
If you have been following my blog in recent months (or even if you haven’t–here comes the spoiler), you’ll know that I have been going slightly cray-cray lately studying for my qualifying exams. Which are coming up very, very soon. As in January soon. And if you have ever been through a period in your life when you’ve gone cray-cray crawfish style, you’ll know that you just don’t have time, the emotional capacity, or the sanity for the big heart-sinker: FAILED DESSERTS.
So of course I was uber-excited when I came across this no-bake, utterly fail-proof tiramisu recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.
And made it.
And it was AMAZEBALLS.
I find that the deeper I trudge into the wilds of study hermitage territory, the less refined my language and blogging gets. OH WELL. #girlsjustwannahavefun
(On a sort of related note, I also find that I’m much more comfortable now with not just creating one “writing voice” when I blog, but using whatever writing comes most naturally to me when I scroll through my photos for the day. I love feeling like my photos and I have conversations before I sit down (or stand up, usually, at my bizarre makeshift stand-up desk) to type out my day’s work. Kind of like Gollum and his alter-ego. I’ll let you decide whether or not that’s worrisome. But the main takeaway here is that I hope you guys also feel that these photos and stories together tell more than just their component parts, which is something I’ve been working hard to make happen through my recent photoseries blog posts. … Read more