No-Roll Butter Pie Crust 

Not sure about how this recipe is going to work. I have my fingers crossed.

1/3 cup unsalted butter
4 Tbs water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Melt butter in the microwave [or brown the butter in a sauce pan].  Let cool slightly. Add  water.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in butter & water mixture. Mix together but do not over mix. If the dough seems dry, add a little extra water, but do that judicially.

Dump dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate and press until an even layer over bottom and sides of the plate.

Dough can be pre-baked at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 30 minutes, for a no bake filling.

Or in my case refrigerate for 30 minutes and fill with America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie.

I have found that having experience in clay, which I have in spades, makes making pastry a lot easier. It really is, pretty much, the same thing. You just have to get a feel for it and trust your hands but not necessarily your eyes.  And the more often you do it, making pastry dough, the easier it gets.

Source: Baking Bites

Well, for all the finger crossing this crust just did not work. And I am not entirely sure why. This is going to bother me for a while, but I will get to the bottom of it. I think David Lebowitz and version of a French press in pie crust that I will give a shot next time. It is all just science after all. Or something like it. Or maybe it just simply is baking and trying new things that sometime work and sometimes do not.

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Bars

So when I buy buttermilk to bake something I try to find other things to make with what is left. I know, I know, you can freeze leftover buttermilk, but I never seem to do it.


Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


It is funny I do not remember my mom making anything with buttermilk – really nothing. Not even biscuits and that is strange for a Southern woman. I do not have it on hand all the time, but most of the time.

Most recently, I have used buttermilk in Savory Herb Muffins and in Basil Sun-Dried Tomato Mozzarella Bread, and of course, Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze which was the original intent of the buttermilk purchase. And now another recipe with just a bit of buttermilk in it.

In the grand scheme of things, it is kind of a test. What can you do with it, and make it different. Not just cake or biscuits or whatever – try to make a variety of things. I am sure the next time I have buttermilk (like now) homemade ranch dressing will be in my future as is often the case in the spring. And that always means spinach and mushroom quiche. One of my favorite things ever and a recipe I have had since before the boy was born – way before.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (Renfroe’s, of course)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 x 13 inch baking pan*, spray with baking spray and line with parchment and spray again.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. In a small bowl, crack egg, add canola oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add flour a little at a time. Stir in chocolate and pecans.

Spread dough, it will be thick, into pan making sure to get dough all the way into the corners. Bake 30 – 35 minutes until center is set and the edges are golden. Cool bars in pan and the cut into bite-sized pieces with a plastic knife because you do not want to jack up the pan with a metal knife.

Source: Baking Bites – one of my favorite baking sites. Must, at some point, figure out how many recipes that I have used from this site. I think there will be several.

* Love William-Sonoma Gold Touch Pans – they really are the best. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen for showing me how amazing these pans are. They really live up to all the hype.

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Guinness is the first beer I ever drank as a regular grown-up thing. I was not a beer drinker, with a few exception of quarters in high school (I was terrible and everyone knew it – surprise?!), until I was in my 30s and then not so much beer drinker until I visited England for interviews and realized EVERYBODY (mostly) had a beer w/lunch and my beer stout of choice was Guinness – hell, that’s a meal in itself. Right?


Guinness Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

But I have learned over the years that Guinness is great in lots of dishes. Beef stew (yeah!), brownies  – totally not kidding, and cake. Guinness has that chocolate / coffee thing going on – if I were some food channel person, I would say, “a depth of flavor.”  And that really fits. Need to make the brownies again – both the Boy and the MotH like them. I’m not a brownie person, but I like to make things for the men in my life and make them happy which makes me happy too. I’m a huge fan of buttermilk or sour cream in a cake – it makes for a tender cake.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup Guinness
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9 inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a large measuring cup, mix together oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Add to dry mixture and combine. Add Guinness and buttermilk and whisk until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan before unfolding it on to a cake plate.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ozs cream cheese, room temperature
1 – 7 oz. container marshmallow cream*
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and marshmallow cream. Beat with a mixer at high speed for 2-3 minutes, until very smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, if using (what – must use). Spread onto cake or cupcakes. Frosts 12 cupcakes or one 9 inch cake.

Source: Baking Bites with some adjustments.

* I am not sure I understand the difference between marshmallow cream and marshmallow fluff – but for my fluffer-nutter** it was always marshmallow cream. So I’m going with that.

** A favorite school room sandwich, but it was always a bit of a mess – sticks to the sandwich bag.