These last two weeks, I’ve been wearing my baker’s hat. I made some lemon yogurt muffins from Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book, a cookbook everyone should have if only for her Fresh Ginger Cake and Nutmeg Muffins, and then made the (gluten free) Chocolate Chip Cookies in Cooking for Isaiah. The latter were excellent, and no one at work noticed they were GF. The texture was a bit different, but I made them with butter and not the shortening option (completely tested & approved by the author) and they were delicious and toll-house-y, which is really the departure point for all chocolate chip cookies. And they did not make my stomach upset, always a bonus.
But as tasty as these things were, they couldn’t beat two real standouts.
First: Melissa Clark’s Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake. I love Clark’s column, “A Good Appetite,” at the NYT, and I own her book. Twice. In hardcover, and also on my Nook Color so I can shop from it randomly in the supermarket when I have no idea what to cook. I’d never made an olive oil-based cake, and I hadn’t had this winter’s serving of blood oranges, so.… I used yogurt, not buttermilk, an either/or option in the recipe, and though Clark calls for whipped cream on the side, I wanted creme fraiche. And my blood oranges were a little dry and tart, so– I heated my honey-fruit compote in the microwave with a little more honey than called for to give it more sweetness and oomph.
It was gorgeous and moist and a lovely, citrusy, midwinter cake.
And then there is Impossible Pie. Today’s been an Impossible Day, for various reasons that aren’t boring or unbloggable but which, well– I just don’t feel like discussing the reasons. So I won’t. But I did make Impossible Pie, which gets its name (so says the March 2011 Food & Wine article in which it’s contained) because it forms its own crust from the one-bowl battery mess of dried coconut and other pantry and fridge staples (um, if you keep coconut in your pantry, that is) that is totally worth making if you feel like– I need something custardy-sweet and comforting. Now. I did tweak the recipe thusly: I didn’t have sweetened coconut, only un-, and I had coconut milk, so I used 1 cup coconut milk (all the liquid in the can and then enough of the sploogy-clotted coconut cream to make one cup in a two-cup measure and 1 cup whole cow’s to fill) plus 2 cups dried unsweetened coconut– then everything else as called for.
It’s not gluten free– it calls for 1/2 cup of self-raising flour (cheat recipe here)– and the next time I make it, I’m going to try subbing in the basic gluten free blend from Cooking for Isaiah with the self-raising adaptation of baking powder and salt and see how I do– but it’s not so much that I think I’ll get a rumbly tummy from one slice a day. Or two. Maybe three? Why not. I deserve it.
It’s awfully good– enough to turn an Impossible Day into a possible one, even.