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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

These are your BMG’s half-wheat sourdough cookies–rolled in cinnamon sugar, and then stamped as “HOME MADE.”

Because apparently, nobody would suspect it if I didn’t tell them in ALL CAPS.

Want yer own overly enthusiastic cookie stamp?  Come and get it, misfits!

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Hang onto your fishnets, misfits–it’s time for another installment of “Ask Bad Mama Genny!”  And today’s episode is likely to pull at the heartstrings of all you sweet-toothed yet lactarded gals and fellas out there.  Read on for Michelle’s query:

Caramel! I miss it as a lactard, have you found any suitable alternatives; or even better, a way to make the real thing?
Thanks a million!
Michelle

Caramel is a tough one, misfits.

Hey, hey, hey, come back here!   I didn’t say it was “impossible,” misfits!  I said it was “a tough one,” okay?  Thereby causing you to realize the enormity of the task I have undertaken and increasing my glory tenfold when you watch me do it BECAUSE OH HELLZ YES I DID DO IT.

So as we’ve discussed in the past, I am lactose-intolerant.  This does not mean that I no longer live like A Rock Star.   Not living like A Rock Star is totally not an option for me.  Therefore I need caramel.  Everybody knows that rock stars and caramel go together like gin and tonic water which IS REALLY FUCKING WELL.

Me=Rock Star.

Stop laughing.

In any case, Your Bad Mama Genny does not possess the inner fortitude to give up things like ice cream and cream soups and caramel.  Simple as that.

But, uh, let’s be frank here: I also LITERALLY do not possess the inner fortitude to eat them.  So I find ways around it.  Coconut ice cream.  Almond milk.  Hallucinogenic substances.  You know, the usual.  I tweak my recipes until they’re just as satisfying as the original, and YOU, yes, YOU reap the benefits.

So let’s talk caramel–technically speaking, caramel can just be, well, caramel, as in caramelized sugar.  Sugar plus heat equals caramel.  But right now you’re all, Oh, Bad Mama Genny, that is SO NOT what Michelle meant.  And I so know you’re right.  What Michelle meant is that gooey, creamy stuff you could eat out of a jar with a spoon–that stuff you drizzle on ice cream, over cakes, or all over yourselves for a bizarre photo shoot that will probably surface in Sweden someday.

I canz handle that challenge, my wittle misfittles.

So onto the dang quesadillas! (Please tell me you got that reference.)

I mean, the dang caramel!

Dairy-Free, Vegan Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (seriously, misfits, vanilla bean paste is my MSG–use it, and use it liberally)
2 T. vegan Earth Balance spread–or butter, if you can tolerate it (I can) and don’t have a problem with dairy on principle
1 dash sea salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons cold water

Directions:
Put sugars and Earth Balance in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Meanwhile, set the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat to get steamy.  Now cook the sugars and butter, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it’s smooth and melty and sugars have dissolved (about 5 minutes).  Now toss in the vanilla bean paste or extract and stir quickly to incorporate–be careful, the mixture may froth up at this point.  Now slowly add the steaming coconut milk while stirring.  When it’s incorporated, mix the cornstarch with the cold water in a small bowl.  Add it to the caramel mixture while stirring, and let the mixture bubble until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Then transfer it to a jar or airtight container and OM NOM NOM NOM NOM start over again.

Enjoy, Michelle!

And for all of you lactarded misfits looking for a lil’ more non-dairy love, check out a few other recipes I’ve posted for your nomming pleasure:

Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegan Macaroni & Cheese

Dairy-free Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Swedish Meatballs with Dairy-free “Sour Cream” and Mushroom Sauce

(Remember, misfits, you can submit your own question for your Bad Mama Genny to answer by clicking right here.)

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Before I launch into today’s post, I want to remind you to visit Monday’s post if you haven’t already and enter to win my giveaway!

All y’alls remember my bitchin’ strawberry rhubarb pie recipe, right?  The one that came with a similarly righteous pate brisee/pie crust recipe?  You know, where I talked all about my crippling paranoia.  Oh, nooooow you remember.   Well, misfits, I recently made it again and it remains the best strawberry rhubarb recipe your Bad Mama Genny has tried since then.

I left the burning juices on the cookie sheet in the photo above to demonstrate my humanity. Also, to remind you that that stuff will be on the bottom of your oven FOR ALL ETERNITY if you don't slip a cookie sheet under your pie. So slip a cookie sheet under your pie.

Okay, so it’s the only recipe I’ve tried since then.  Whatever, we play by different logic around here.

So I made this pie and it was wonderful but then I got OH HOLY more rhurbarb and more strawberries in this week’s CSA box.  And I didn’t want to make another pie.

Well, okay, so your Bad Mama Genny DID want to make another pie, but felt that she should abstain.  For the sake of her waistline.  Which will be greatly exposed this summer.  And does not benefit from the copious ingestion of pate brisee.  Go figure.

So I decided instead to make a strawberry rhubarb sauce–one that’s sweetened naturally, just a little, and without that uncomfortable blood sugar spike of sugar sugar SUGAR SUGGARRR SUUGGAAAAHH!

This version will not kick your ass.  At least, not very much.  It’s more like an ass bump.  Which, if you think about it, sounds pretty damn pleasant.

Ass bumps: try them today!

But there’s a story that goes along with this one.  A heartwarming tale of redemption, second chances, and dreams that just wouldn’t die.  Actually, my story is nothing like that.  But it’s still pretty good and I’m gonna make you listen.  Ignore that “X” in the box at the top right of the screen.  It is merely an illusion.  By the magic of My Bad Self you have been rendered unable to navigate from this page.  Just one of the perks of being me, I guess.

So I’m at my family’s house for a visit with all the ingredients for this sauce in tow, and I go, hey, don’t I remember reading on Farmgirl Susan’s blog about how turtles love strawberries and in some parts of the country will even crawl into your strawberry patch to have a little nom-fest?  And wasn’t there a precious photo of a baby turtle in the strawberry patch to boot?

Oh, yes.  Yes, there was. 

And then I got to thinking, well that’s just the preciousest thing I’ve ever seen and isn’t it sad that I don’t have a turtle to test that on.

Oh, wait.  I totally do.  Her name is Shelly.  And she lives in my family’s living room.

So I went into the living room to harass  horrify delight Shelly with my presence, lifted her out of her cage, and brought her into the kitchen for a lil’ experiment.

Here's Shelly all self-conscious, pretending to be all, "Oh, I care nothing for this strawberry feast you've set before me."

And here she is all of ten seconds later, eating her strawberries with ferocity while I'm all, "Yeah, guess who wants my berries NOW, hmm?" Taunting turtles. It's the American way.

Moral of the story?  Turtles like strawberries and you probably do, too, so make this sauce.  Some of you might want to serve it over ice cream or waffles.  To you, I say, holy crap that is a fucking fantastic idea.  Others will do as I do, and drizzle it all over their bodies and then wait for their own The Boy to come ho–I MEAN–eat it straight like applesauce, or enjoy it alongside some thick yogurt.  Wholesome things.  Like that.

All-Natural, No Refined Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup (Agave would work well, too, as would honey.  If you’re going to use cane sugar, bump up the amount to about 1/2 cup.)
2 T cornstarch
2 T lemon juice
dash salt
1 bunch rhubarb, sliced (about 4 cups)
1 quart strawberries (mine were little so I left them whole)

Directions:
Combine the water, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, rhubarb, and strawberries in a saucepot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Mix the cornstarch with 3 Tablespoons cold water and stir in, cooking for an additional 3 minutes, or until thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool–keeps in an airtight container for about a week, longer if you’re feeling like a daring misfit.  And I know you are.

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Mmm, fall.  Delicious, delicious fall.  Succulent, tasty, juicy fall.

Aaaaand we’re already creepy.  I would say that’s a new record for this blog, but maybe not.  I do creepy things all the time and then “forget” them later.  It’s called “creepout amnesia.”  Or, as the rest of you might call it, “a reasonable sense of shame.”

Anyhow.

It’s officially fall, seeing as how I can no longer lay on the beach with those little wine juice boxes and a volleyball to give the impression that I’m sporty.  Oh, it’s such a lark when someone walks up and asks if I’d like to play volleyball!

“AHAHA, ahaha, AHAHAHAHA, oh, PLAY volleyball, stop, STOP, really, you’re too much!…::sip::sip::”

Anyhow.

So it’s no longer lay-on-the-beach-in-a-bikini-and-get-drunk-next-to-a-for-decoration-only-volleyball weather.  Man, what a sad, sad sentence.  But no one get too down about it.  After all, it’s just about lay-in-the-back-of-an-SUV-in-jeans-and-The-Boy’s-jersey-next-to-a-for-decoration-only-football weather.  Yes.  To everything, there is a season.  It’s the circle of life.  A wheel of fortune, if you will.  Turn, turn, turn.

Anyhow.

So it’s getting chilly, and I’ve been gallivanting around doing all manner of fall-like things.  Things like…

Using the last of the red tomatoes from the garden…

Preparing this delightful native dish that I’ve just learned about: soup…

Going apple picking…

Ooh…

Think we have enough apples for two people, The Boy?

You do?  Oh, that’s nice.  I think we need lots more.

Whaddya mean, you’re cutting me off?

Whaddya mean, you’re walking to the car?

Whaddya mean, you’re starting the car?

Whaddya mean, VROOM?

Oh.  I think I’m starting to understand whatcha mean.

…and of course, as the lead photo would suggest, we’ve been gallivanting (yes, MORE gallivanting) through pumpkin fields.  But only to look at them.  In my world, field pumpkins, like volleyballs and footballs and modesty, are for decoration only.  The flesh is scarce, stringy, watery, and not the least bit sweet.  Now those cute lil’ two-pound pie pumpkins?  THOSE are pumpkins.  Adorable AND delicious.

So if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I spent yesterday roasting all kinds of squash and squash seeds, and I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t admit to a bit of a pumpkin obsession these days.  Yesterday, I saved 79 pumpkin recipes on my desktop.  True story.  True story that I wish were even a little bit false.  78 would’ve sounded much better.  Thank goodness it wasn’t 80.  I mean, 79 is a lot, but 80 is just sick.

Ooh!  Just found a recipe for pumpkin french toast!  ::click::

<hangs head>

And today, as you’d know if you followed me on Twitter (hint hint FUCKING hint), is The Boy’s birthday.  That’s right, everybody’s favorite accidental sorta-celebrity was born ::mumble mumble:: years ago today.  To celebrate, I decided to start his morning off right (the poor dude had to work!) with a pumpkin latte.  YUM.

Now let me just be clear: The Boy does not NEED a pumpkin latte to feel good in the morning.  How could he ever have a bad morning when he opens his eyes to the sight of me rolling over, my hair in the most conspicuous white girl afro you ever did see, my nightie twisted around me like a straightjacket, the pillows on the floor, and my eyes half open?  How could he NOT have a great morning when my first words to him are usually something akin to “What the…f*&#…it’s not morning, right?  THE BOY, tell me it’s not morning, tell me it’s not morning, IFYOUVALUEYOURLIFETELLMEIT’SNOTMORNING, oh God, it’s morning.”  Also, a man needs to feel wanted and needed, right?  And when I wrap my arms around his ankles as he’s trying to scale the stairs to the door and beg him not to leave me to work all by myself, I’m sure what he’s thinking is, “God, it’s so nice to feel needed.”

BUT.

Just in case your mornings need perking up, UNLIKE THE BOY’S, you might want to try a pumpkin latte.  It’s a heck of a lot nicer than the one from the coffee shops.  And it’s made with a healthy dose of neurosis.  I mean, love.  Love.

Pumpkin Latte
*makes one*

Go Get:

1 shot of espresso (alternatively, probably about a 1/2 cup of really strong coffee)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon raw sugar (I’m thinking maple syrup would be a delightful substitute)
1 cup milk (this works with soy milk, nut milk, whatever turns you on; I’m a lactard, almond milk it is)
3 hearty dashes cinnamon (can I recommend–again–the Saigon Cinnamon from The Spice House?)
1 pinch ginger
2 whole cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (you could use canned, but…you know)
whipped cream, if you’re feelin’ naughty

Go Do:

Start brewing your espresso or coffee.  Meanwhile, toss all other ingredients except whipped cream into a saucepan and blend.  Cook over low heat until the milk is just steaming (don’t boil it.  Ew.).  Now if you want your latte super smooth, remove the cloves with a spoon and put everything into the blender, set it to “milkshake” or its equivalent, and let that sucker blend ’til things are lookin’ frothy.  If you’re not picky and your pumpkin puree was smooth, just take out the cloves.  Now put your espresso into a mug, and pour the milk mixture over it.  Top with whipped cream if you’re using it.  Aw, what the hell, toss on another dash of cinnamon.  Let’s go whole hog.  Now doesn’t that sound like a nice way to start the day?  I’m thinking decaf and a walk after dark on a chilly, crisp day would suit me just fine, how ’bout you?

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Oh, yeah, baby, you can crumble my topping anytime!

Ooh, I just wanna cut you up into little pieces and eat you!...wait, that wasn't sexy.

Confession time: I’m a sucker for any recipe described as “Midwestern.”  For me, the term conjures images of pies cooling on windowsills, sounds of cows musing to themselves in a field just over yonder, and scents of clean breezes wafting over fields of fresh hay.

HA!  JUST KIDDING!  The clean and pure and wholesome country wants nothing to do with your Bad Mama Genny.

But really, I do stop for a second look at recipes like these because they remind me of the home-y and decadent desserts I was raised on, desserts rich with the sweetness of fruit and often topped with a crumbly, crispy, textured THING happening, thanks to the addition of oats and whole grains.  And, uh, oh yeah–the unmistakable taste of butter was in there, too.

So when I saw this recipe, attributed to commenter greenandlean on thekitchn.com, I knew I had to try it.

With a few leeeeeetle revisions.

You see, friends, through extensive experimentation, it’s come to my attention that most dessert recipes call for a little more sugar than I really need.  I often cut the sugar in a recipe by as much as a third.  And it’s still good.  To compensate, I’ll sometimes up the fruit content and include more whole grains, which add a nuttiness and depth of flavor that white flour just can’t touch.  The sugar that I do use is raw, which adds a certain je ne sais quoi that you can’t find in ordinary, heavily-processed granulated sugar.

So I edited the recipe to my liking to include more whole grains, more raisins, less sugar (and less refined sugar), and highly probiotic plain kefir or plain whole milk yogurt instead of sour cream (a swap which cuts out a bit of fat and calories and ups the tang factor, not that I have anything against sour cream OH HO NO I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT but sour cream has something against me READ: I AM A LACTARD).  I also cut the recipe in half since The Boy is notoriously bad at helping me eat dessert.  He prefers to drink it.  In the form of beer.

Thanks a lot for not helping your darlin’ eat dessert, The Boy.  I hope you like FUCKING LOVE HANDLES!

Oh, you do?  Why, thank you, The Boy, you’ve made my day, my, oh, my, how you DO look nice in those worn denim overalls of yours!  What’s say you and I disappear with a pan of raisin bars behind one of these here hay bales and not reappear until this here pan is empty and I’m a’blushin’ real hard?

But The Boy doesn’t wear overalls.  That’s okay.  I don’t blush, either.

Sour Cream/Kefir/Yogurt Raisin Bars
Makes and 8 x 8 pan of bars

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups raisins
3/4 Cup old-fashioned oats, plus 2 Tablespoons
3/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/2 cup raw sugar or evaporated cane juice (plus an additional half cup for the filling)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick organic/grass-fed butter, softened
2 beaten egg yolks
1 Tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup plain kefir or plain whole milk yogurt or sour cream

Directions:
Soak the raisins in a bowl of hot water to fatten them up.  Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350 and generously butter a square baking dish (approx. 8 x 8 inches).  Mix the oats, flour, 1/2 cup of the raw sugar, and baking soda.  Now use your fingers to squeeze the butter into the mixture.  Don’t take things so far that the butter is melted–just make sure little bits of butter are distributed throughout and that the mixture is crumbly.  Measure 3/4 cup of the mixture and set it aside.  Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of your baking pan and set it into the oven to bake for about 10 minutes.

Now mix the yolks, the other 1/2 cup of raw sugar, the cornstarch, and the kefir/sour cream/yogurt.  Heat the pan over a medium-low flame, stirring occasionally, until it’s thickened.  The original recipe mentions 15 minutes–mine took less than half of that time to get where it needed to be, so check frequently.  Dump in the raisins and mix it all together.  Smile.

Once your crust is done baking, pull it out and pour the kefir/raisin mixture over it.  Spread it evenly over the crust and bake this for about 10 minutes (the middle will still look pretty loose).  Take the bars out and crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the bars.  Put them back into the oven and bake until the creamy filling is set and the crumble topping is starting to turn golden, 10 to 15 minutes.  Pull your bars out and allow the pan to cool on a wire rack.

Wait until these are cool to cut them, or you’ll end up with a bit of a mess.  Alternatively, follow my bad example and take a spoon to them when they’re just the teensiest bit cooler than lava.

What can I say?  I know what I like.

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Pardon my dark edges, I got a little excited.

You know that funny “middle” time when spring is starting to turn into summer, but it’s not quite sure, and it’s still raining an awful lot and you’ve just put your tomatoes out, but then again, you’ve got loads of berries and you’re not wearing a jacket anymore and you think it might be summer because OH MY HOLY GOD IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING OF MAY AND IT’S NINETY FREAKING DEGREES OUT WHY ON EARTH DO I ALREADY HAVE A SUNBURN IS SOMEONE TRYING TO KILL ME?!

Well, do you?  Good.

You know what tastes like that time of year?  This pie.

Friends, as I said on Twitter, it is a sign of the universe’s generosity that strawberries and rhubarb are in season at the same time.  This flavor combination ranks right up there with the greats: tomatoes and basil, peanut butter and chocolate, pickles and ice cream, pain and suffering…what better way to celebrate nature’s bounty?  And since my CSA box was taking the term “bountiful” seriously, I ended up with a whole lotta strawberries and rhubarb on my hands.  Hey, I wasn’t about to complain.  It was a good deal better than when the farmshare people were trying to kill me or drive me slowly insane by including stinging nettles in my box AND NOT TELLING ME WHAT THEY WERE OR HOW TO HANDLE OR SHOULD I SAY NOT HANDLE THEM.

I’m using my outdoor voice a lot today.  I’ve also managed to develop multiple conspiracy theories in a very short span of time.  I’m not paranoid, guys.  I just think there may be multiple plots against my health and sanity.  That’s all.

When I was in high school, I had an English teacher who told us, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t all out to get you.”  Wise woman, she was.  But I digress.

I’m always digressing.

The Boy says he enjoys it.  But I digress.

Try this pie–you won’t be sorry.  It’s best served warm, alongside a generous helping of your own self-importance and a sinking feeling that you’re being watched.  I’d have it after you pull stinging nettle spines out of your hands, but before you rub aloe goo on your burned shoulders.

This season is going to kill me.

Stellar Pie Crust, and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

First, make the Stellar Pie Crust/Pate Brisee (recipe makes 2 crusts, which is perfect for this recipe):

Go Get:
2 1/2 cups flour (I like a mix of 1 cup whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour, but that’s up to you–my pics reflect the wheat crust)
2 sticks (1 cup) very cold butter cut into bitty pieces
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 Tablespoons ice water (I fill a measuring cup up to the halfway point with cold water and then stick it in the freezer for a few minutes)

Go Do:
Okay, so here’s the part where I work in yet another opportunity to use my fancy-pants food processor, but you can just use a plain old bowl and a pastry cutter.  Dump the flour and salt into the food processor bowl and pulse it a few times to combine.  Then toss in all the butter pieces and pulse it again until the mixture resembles various pea-sized clumps.  DON’T OVERDO IT!  The key to wonderful, tender, flaky pie crust is UNEVENLY distributing butter to make little fat pockets, and keeping those fat pockets chilly so they don’t melt down and, well, stop being fat pockets.  At this point, start the machine running and quickly feed in ice water until the dough is just starting to hold itself together.  Don’t add so much water that it’s sticky or damp.  Grab a small handful of dough and squeeze it together–if it holds, it’s ready.  Then divide the dough in half, wrap each lump in waxed paper, and stick it in the fridge.  Give it a good hour or two before you use it.

And now, for the pie:

Go Get:
1 recipe of the Stellar Pie Crust
3 heaping cups sliced strawberries
4 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
1 1/4 cups sugar (I use raw sugar), plus a bit for sprinkling on top, if you like that sort of thing (I like that sort of thing, and used between 1 and 2 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon cream

Go Do:
Take your pie dough out of the fridge and let it come up to temperature just until it’s loose enough to roll out.  Keep it as chilly as possible.  While you do this, toss the fruit, rhubarb, flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl and let it sit and marry on the counter.  At this point, preheat the oven to 425F degrees.  Flour the surface and roll out one disk so it’s large enough to lay into your pie dish.  Lay it in the pan, use a paring knife to cut the excess dough from around the dish’s edges, and turn back to your filling.  At this point, toss the fruit mixture around a bit more.  The berries will have released some juices, allowing you to distribute the sugar and flour more evenly.  Dump the filling ingredients into the pie dish, and stick the whole thing in the fridge for a moment.

Now roll out the other layer of pie crust.  Make it a bit bigger than the bottom one, as when you weave the lattice strips in and out, you’ll use up some dough length.  Using a sharp paring knife or pizza cutter, cut skinny strips of dough.  Pull the pie out of the fridge and gently lay strips going in one direction across the pie (the closer the lattice, the more impressive the final look).  Then begin to lay strips in the other direction (I like to lay the second set of strips at a diagonal to the first ones because I think it makes pleasant diamond-shaped holes, but you do whatever turns you on).  As you lay this second set of dough strips, gently weave the top strips in an over-under pattern.  When you’ve basketweaved all the strips, roll the strip ends over the bottom crust and tuck them under.  Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges and make it all look finished.  Stick the whole thing in the fridge for a few minutes.   (Note–I am not trying to make you crazy with all this fancy fridge-work.  I’m merely trying to ensure a tender, flaky crust for you.  Yeah, that’s right.  Bet you feel pretty bad about complaining now.)

In a small bowl, beat and egg white and some milk with a fork until it’s well-combined.  Pull the pie out after it’s chilled for a few minutes and brush (honestly?  I gave up on the pastry brush and used my fingers) the mixture over the lattice top and the crust edges.  This will turn your pie crust a beautiful, shiny, golden color.  You’re welcome!  Now, if you like, sprinkle additional sugar over the top of the pie for sparkle and just the right hint of sweet crunch.  Stick your pie onto a cookie sheet for easy removal, and pop the whole thing into the oven.  Bake it at this temp for about 20 minutes, and then lower the oven to 400 and bake for another hour or so.  Check it occasionally to make sure the crust isn’t browning too fast–if it is, just cut a large piece of foil and gently lay it on top of the pie.  The filling will continue to cook but the crust will stop browning so quickly.  Don’t judge your pie’s doneness by the crust color–you may end up with raw fruit.  You’ll know the filling is done when you poke a knife into the fruit mix and it slides right through the fruit and rhubarb with zero resistance.  After you take it out, let it cool for at least an hour, hour and a half before you eat it–not only will you avoid burning your mouth on molten hot berry lava, but you’ll also notice that the filling will gel and hold together better.

You can serve this warm, a la mode (yum!), but we just drizzled it with a few tablespoons of fresh cream.  Oh, yes, yes, yes.

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These were one of my contributions to the cookie exchange I hosted yesterday.  Oh.  Yeah.

I mean, really.  OH, YEAH!

Sorry–just had a Kool-Aid Man moment there.  But seriously, these delicious goodies are my Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Mallowmars.

Or, as we’ve taken to calling them around here, the Gay Pride Tophats.

Here’s the recipe, along with pictures of other bakers’ interpretations.

But that recipe won’t get you these babies.  No, ma’am’s, these cookies are the result of some serious screwups and improvisations, all of which you virtually witnessed if you follow me on Twitter.  Things started okay–after all, the homemade graham cookies turned out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.  And I do.  Say so myself, I mean.  But things went a little downhill from there.  Let’s review, shall we?  Pull up a comfy armchair, don a smoking jacket, have your bubble pipe at the ready, and sit back for…

A NIGHT OF CULINARY DISASTERS, FOREVER IMMORTALIZED BY TWITTER:

4:46 PM Dec 21st from web:  First cookie disaster of the day: double boiler, um, boiled over, burning me and causing my white chocolate to seize up!

4:49 PM Dec 21st from web:  Cookie Baking Day totals, so far: 1 boilover (chocolate’s), 1 meltdown (mine), and 1 act of taking it down to a simmer (The Boy’s)…

5:07 PM Dec 21st from web:  Does having a cookie tantrum make me immature? Hmm…

7:28 PM Dec 21st from web:  Cookie Day Disaster #2: homemade marshmallow fluff isn’t setting! I’m either gonna lose it or stop caring altogether, and I’m not sure which!

7:30 PM Dec 21st from web:  AND my mixer broke! I burned out the engine on my freaking hand mixer!

7:44 PM Dec 21st from web:  Dark chocolate isn’t solidifying on the half-dipped cherry cookies–at this point I’m just laughing maniacally…I promise I can bake!

7:50 PM Dec 21st from web:  Accidentally bought unsalted peanut butter yesterday and I needed the regular kind! ARRRRGGGHHH!

And finally, my morning after haiku on the subject:

9:27 AM Dec 22nd from web:  Cookie Exchange Day/You’ve brought me pain and pleasure/Also, sticky floors…

Tell me you’ve had nights like this.  Come on, there must be some good cooking/baking/candy-making horror stories out there, guys.

…guys?  Seriously, I could stand to laugh at misfortune right now.

Someone else’s misfortune.

What ended up happening with these cookies is that I gave up on the failed marshmallow fluff (we’ve since discovered that the candy thermometer was broken), and dug out a leftover bag of jumbo marshmallows, snipped ’em in half, attached them to the grahams with blobs (not smears, not dollops, but blobs) of peanut butter, and dipped them in melted milk chocolate…then in dark chocolate when I ran out of milk chocolate.

The Boy can only be expected to make so many emergency grocery runs in one night.

And then came time for fun–time for the girls to come over and tell me all about their baking issues (dough-eating husbands, peanut brittle that wouldn’t, um, brittle, projects that got nixed and re-started the morning of the exchange…), while we drank champagne (heavily), snacked on meatballs and goat cheese (heavily), and giggled (also heavily).  Seeing as how we decided to go with the as-few-rules-as-possible route (two varieties of goody made per attendee, a dozen baked for each attendee), we were amazed and pleased with the variety and skillful execution in our spread.  There were fudges and barks, cookies dipped in chocolate, cookies glazed with liquor (divine!), and cookies cram-packed with fruit and nuts.  All in all, I’d say we had a good time, despite–

–okay, BECAUSE OF–

the astonishing quantity of alcohol we “dainty” babes put away.

You readers came up with some brilliant suggestions for hosting the ultimate cookie exchange–everything from baking extra cookies for charity to using Chinese takeout containers for the–well, the takeout.  And it was HARD to choose just one winner for the mystery giveaway.  But what is life without challenges?  The winner is…Elsa! Elsa put so much time and effort into her post, and covered so many cookie exchange conundrums (she even offered up a recipe of her own), that I just had to award her the fantabulous mystery prize.  Which is <drumroll>…

A Williams-Sonoma message-in-a-cookie set!  Customizable cookie cutters allow you to choose from pre-set holiday messages, or arrange your own for that one-of-a-kind, only-she-would-give-me-a-cookie-that-says-that sort of effect (some of my suggestions: “Jehosephat, it’s Christmas!”; “U Yule My Log”; “Bite Me”; “Bad Mama Genny RULZ”).  Congratulations, Elsa!

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