Sumptuous Chocolate Cream Pie

Blog6 051It’s only October and already I need a break from pumpkin. I never thought I’d say that, but I follow a lot of food blogs and can say with authority that pumpkin dominates this time of year. Yes, I’m guilty of adding to the craziness, and I know I’ll be trying out more pumpkin recipes between now and Christmas, but for now I’m leaning on my faithful backup: chocolate!

I was craving chocolate cream pie, and since I can easily use my blog as an excuse for making sinful goodies, I made a rich, dark, creamy version…for my wonderful readers, of course. I even tested it thoroughly for you.

I usually use a chocolate cookie crust with chocolate cream pie, but in this case I had my heart set on decorating the pie with pie crust leaves, so I baked a regular pie crust and brushed the bottom of it with chocolate before I added the filling, which helped keep the bottom crust flaky. Since I made enough pastry for a two-crust pie, I had plenty of dough for some pretty autumn leaves.

Just for grins I tried two different “looks”. Some of the leaves I baked and outlined with dark chocolate. Some I painted with food coloring and sprinkled with sugar before baking. I love the fall look of the pastry leaves, but if you’re in a hurry you can just slather the pie with whipped cream, shave a little chocolate over it, and call it good. Believe me, no one will complain!
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One pie will easily serve eight people, because a thin slice of this rich dessert is more than satisfying. It’s a dessert to be savored slowly and appreciated deeply.  Even though pumpkin pie is the traditional dessert for a Thanksgiving meal, some people just don’t like pumpkin. If you’re thinking about having a couple of different dessert options, this would be a great choice, because I haven’t met too many people who don’t like chocolate!

You can make this the day before if you have room in the refrigerator. Put the whipping cream on just before serving, or if you’re using non-dairy whipped topping or stabilized whipped cream, you can decorate the pie a couple of hours before serving.

Here’s the pie recipe. I’ve given you a crust recipe and instructions below.

Sumptuous Chocolate Cream Pie
This rich pie will easily serve 8 people.
  • 1 baked pie crust
  • 1 ounce of dark chocolate for coating the crust (optional)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered espresso
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup butter
  1. Melt 1 ounce of chocolate in a small cup in the microwave, using 15 second intervals and stirring often. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the chocolate over the crust bottom. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly mix the egg yolks. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, espresso powder, milk, and chocolate.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a low boil.
  5. Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Remove from heat.
  6. Add about ½ cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and stir briefly. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, whisk to combine, and return to a low boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the vanilla and butter until the filling is smooth and completely combined. Pour into the pie shell and allow pie to cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.
  8. Chill for 4-6 hours. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Filling the pie.

Filling the pie.

You can find the recipe for my favorite pie crust right here: Never Fail Pie Crust.
I find that the dough is easier to work with if I don’t refrigerate it before rolling it out. I just need to be generous with the flour.

I use a little more than half the dough for the crust because I don’t have to roll it so thin and it’s easier to handle. Roll out the dough and cut it into a circle that’s large enough to leave an inch of excess all the way around the pan. Place the dough in the pan, fold under and flute the edge, and poke holes evenly in the crust with a fork.

Poke the crust all over with a fork.

Poke the crust all over with a fork.

Carefully lay a sheet of foil over the pie crust and fill at least one-third of the way up with beans (or use pie weights.) Bake at 375 F. for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and gently lift the foil and weights out of the pan. (If you’re using beans, wrap them up in the foil and save for the next time you bake a pie crust. You can’t eat them after they’ve been baked.)

Weighing down the crust to keep it from collapsing as it bakes.

Weighing down the crust to keep it from collapsing as it bakes.

Return the crust to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until it turns golden. Since the crust is hot when it first comes out of the oven, if you want to shave a little chocolate over it, it will melt and you can spread it easily, saving the step of melting the chocolate in the microwave. You can see I got a little carried away here with my pastry brush, and splattered the crust with chocolate. I kind of liked the look, and may do it more thoroughly next time!

Spreading chocolate on the bottom of the crust.

Spreading chocolate on the bottom of the crust.

While the pie crust is baking, roll the remaining crust out between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Cut with leaf shaped cookie cutters.
For colored leaves: Using an artists paintbrush (or even a damp paper towel, in a pinch) paint each leaf with food coloring. For muted colors, water down the food coloring a little. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Leaves fresh from the oven.

Leaves fresh from the oven.

For chocolate leaves, cut out leaves and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown. When cool, pipe “veins” on the leaves with dark chocolate, using a pastry bag and small writing tip or a plastic zipper bag with the tip snipped off.
chocolate pieA cup of coffee and a slice of this pie is pure bliss. It will never replace pumpkin pie in the hearts of America, but it’s got to be a close second. Enjoy…I know I did!

Soft Eggnog Sugar Cookies

Eggnog Sugar CookieThree times now I’ve walked past the eggnog display at the grocery store. The first two times, I convinced myself that it wasn’t eggnog season yet – even for a baking blogger – and the recipe spinning around in my head could wait. Besides, my life is insanely busy right now and there isn’t much time for blogging.

The third time I went past the eggnog, I caved and went back for a carton. I was a little burned-out on pumpkin, apples, and even (gasp!) maple, so maybe it was time to forge ahead and start the Christmas recipes rolling!

So…more cookies. There are never enough good cookie recipes, right? And these are sweet, light little cookies. They turned out exactly as I pictured them on my first try. Did your grandma ever make you cake-like sour cream cookies? Mine did (neener neener) and my whole family loved them. They were a little plain – basically just a sugar cookie with loft – but sugar cookies by definition are a little plain, which is part of their charm. Hers had the magical combination of sour cream and baking soda though, so they rose proudly and were surprisingly light when picked up and aimed at the mouth.

So light. So addictive.

So light. So addictive.

I took Grandma’s recipe and added eggnog, changing the quantities of flour and leavening to keep them from going flat. I used a spiced vanilla eggnog, but this isn’t necessary. If you use regular eggnog, just be a little generous with both the spices and the vanilla and they will turn out great!

I always use a thin glaze to add a little interest. In this case, the cookies have a mild spicy eggnog flavor, so I kept it to a simple vanilla and nutmeg glaze. You may, if you wish, use eggnog instead of water (if they aren’t going to be eaten quickly, you’ll want to refrigerate or freeze them because of the dairy) or………….rum, brandy, or whiskey for a spiked eggnog treat.

Add a handful of raisins if you like – they go very well with the eggnog flavor. Speaking from experience though, (BLEH!) chocolate chips are not a good option. Trust me on this.

Soft Eggnog Sugar Cookies
These sugar cookies have a light, soft texture. They are mildly flavored with eggnog and spices. Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • ..............
  • Glaze:
  • ½ cup water (or milk or eggnog, OR replace part of the liquid with rum or whiskey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
  4. Add vanilla and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and eggnog, whisking well.
  7. Beginning with the sour cream mixture and ending with the flour mixture, add alternately in three separate additions.
  8. On parchment covered or very lightly greased cookie sheet, place small scoops of cookie dough at least an inch apart.
  9. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just slightly golden brown around the bottom edge. Move cookies to a rack to cool completely.
  10. To make Glaze:
  11. Combine water (or optional liquids) and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well until smooth. It will be thin. Turn each cooled cookie over and dip the top, shaking off excess. Set on waxed paper to dry.
  12. Keep these cookies in an airtight container.


Whisk together the sour cream and eggnog.

Whisk together the sour cream and eggnog.

Scoop the dough. (Smooth and shape with a damp finger if you want them perfectly round. Pffft.)

Scoop the dough. (Smooth and shape with a damp finger if you want them perfectly round. Pffft.)

Dip 'em.

Dip ’em.

These are deceptively ordinary looking. No strong flavor, no added goodies, just a soft, plain cookie. A soft, plain cookie that you can’t stop eating! And now it is officially THE SEASON!!! Falalalalala.

Fly on the Wall – October

Fly on the Wall

It’s time for Fly on the Wall again! Each month you have the opportunity to see what’s really going on in the homes of 13 bloggers when they think no one is looking. As a fly on the wall, you’ll be privy to the dirt (in my case, figurative and literal) that others never see.
I hope you’ll read my post and then click on the links below and visit the other 12 crazies!

This is the time of year that makes me frantic. Everything hits at once! I planted 300 garlic plants, canned two batches of applesauce and ten jars of huckleberry jam, froze tomato sauce, and sorted potatoes. What I haven’t done yet is prune all the raspberry and blueberry plants, cut down the asparagus, dry and grind garlic, turn the other giant basket of apples into sauce, and clean house, Why am I not getting things done? Read on….

Rowdy Facebook page hit 2,000 "likes"!

Rowdy Facebook page hit 2,000 “likes”!

It’s been a crazy-good month for me. You saw me shrieking and dancing when I got chosen as one of the thirteen finalists for Blogger Idol. There was another round of happy dancing when my Facebook page for The Rowdy Baker hit 2,000 “likes”, and some jaw-dropping astonishment when a frumpy looking little dessert (that tasted like HEAVEN, thank you very much) went crazy and gave me a shocking number of hits on my blog and Pinterest.

And now, after two weekly assignments, I’m still alive in Blogger Idol, thanks to votes from family, friends, and readers (they’re the same thing, right?) and probably possibly drunk judges. In just a few hours I’ll find out if my third post and reader votes got me through another week.

For our first assignment, we had to write our own eulogy. That was kind of creepy. I went in a strange direction and wrote a poem. I was worried that I’d made a huge mistake, but the judges were kind – or just befuddled – and I made it through.

For our second assignment, we had to write a newspaper article about a fictional crime we’d committed. They liked it. WHEW! Safe.

For our third assignment we had to write about something we did that we didn’t want to do. I wrote a sad piece (my daughter even called it a “Debbie Downer”) that made me cry the whole time I was writing and editing it. I’m hoping it was enough to move me into Week 4, which will be a double elimination (why does that make me want to giggle?) week. Scary.

Please check my blog every Wednesday at noon when the new assignments are posted to see if I’m still “in it to win it”. If I am, you can help me by voting. It’s so easy – and there will be simple instructions waiting for you.


I don’t want to be indelicate here, since you are, after all, a Musca domestica, but I have this great joke my sister Khym sent me:


I was visiting my daughter last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

“This is the 21st century,” she said. “We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, use my iPad.

I can tell you this: that fly never knew what hit him!


See this face? You’ll probably be seeing a lot more of it. This crazy middle grandchild of mine just got through filming a show in LA. Can’t give you any more details, but she’s definitely on her way. You can be sure I’ll keep you posted!

Have your people call my people!

Have your people call my people!


The cats are working it. All spring and summer they will have very little to do with us, occasionally gracing us with their presence long enough to scarf down a bowl of Meow Mix, but then heading right back to the front door. “Don’t pet me.”  “Don’t touch me.”  “Do NOT try to put me on your lap.” You’ve got to figure, warm weather brings excellent hunting conditions and these cats are hunters to the max.

But now the temps have dropped into the 20s at night, and all of a sudden they’re sucking up. Rubbing against our legs, rubbing against the dog, cuddling on the couch, getting in our laps. They KNOW what it feels like to be sleeping outside in sub-zero weather and are working every angle so they’ll get more warm couch time.

Hmpf. I’m a woman – I know how to hold a grudge! Every diffident strut past my proffered hand was logged in. Every huffy squirm when I tried to pick them up was tucked away as a direct insult. I will not be seduced into trusting them, only to be dumped in the spring when the swallows taunt them to play. Nope. I will be strong…indifferent…

Ahhhhhhhhhh. 72 degrees.

Ahhhhhhhhhh. 72 degrees.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m such a sucker for a loud purr.


OK, this is kind of crude, but The Man and I laughed for hours…DAYS over it. Let me set the stage for you. Youngest son (you know him as Lord Voldemort) is living in our guest room right now. The walls are horribly thin, and the toilet in the master bathroom is right against the wall where the headboard is in the guest room. You get the picture, right?

Lord V is the most disgusting 30 year old ever. He spends most of his time on a boat in Alaska, and hasn’t had any of his rough edges smoothed by a steady female companion. Some would say he’s a bit of a pig. YOU know, you’ve been on our wall all month. He doesn’t suppress any bodily noises at all, to my endless horror and his juvenile amusement. When I complained, he insisted that flatulence and burping whole sentences just got funnier each year.

So…he wanted to be awakened early in the morning to go hunting. Instead of knocking on his door, The Man knocked on the bathroom wall and then sat down on the commode. I don’t know what we had for dinner the night before, but I can tell you that it produced the longest, loudest, most sputtering noise ever. Lord V was totally grossed out. I have never EVER known him to get out of bed that fast. If he’d been a girl he’d have been squealing down the hall. Instead, he did the manly “yelling, bitching, swearing” thing. Obviously this young man can dish it out, but can’t take it. He was highly indignant that his dad had knocked first and then done that, bellyaching about it for days. Apparently it’s only funny if he is the one being gross. It served him right. I’d like to say that it made him change his ways, but we both know I’d be lying.


I made some yummy cookies the other day. Too yummy, because they disappeared instantly. This should have been astonishing, because were at least six dozen of them, but I’ve seen this disappearing cookie phenomenon before, and wisely stashed some in the freezer. Unfortunately, I didn’t put them in a spinach bag like I used to, and The Man found them. I looked up from my book and there he was, on the couch, eating frozen cookies out of the bag. Rock hard frozen cookies!

I snapped a picture, and then when I mentioned the dreaded words “Fly on the Wall”, he gave me a rather unpleasant photo op. He didn’t think I’d share it, but after 35 years he should certainly know me better!
fly on wall pics 038fly on wall pics 040


On that pleasant note, I hope you’ll buzz over to these other blogs and see what they’ve been up to.
Baking In a Tornado
Stacy Sews and Schools
Just a Little Nutty
Menopausal Mother
The Sadder But Wiser Girl
Follow Me Home
Moore Organized Mayhem
Spatulas on Parade
Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others
The Insomniac’s Dream
Trashy Blog
Dates 2 Diapers

Week 3 of Blogger Idol…PLEASE VOTE!

Blog5 071

Votes! I need more votes!!

The judges were kind, but the competition is fierce and I’ll still need your vote this week to keep me in the running. Votes count for one-third of the total score, and believe me―every vote counts! Last week I was in 2nd place after the judges scored the assignments, but dropped to 7th place because I didn’t have enough votes. So….HELP!

I struggled a bit with this assignment. There was a lot of second-guessing myself after I hit “publish”. In retrospect, I should have probably made some changes, but it was close to my heart and I cried buckets every time I tried to edit it. Sniff.

I’m glad the judges “got” that.

I’d love to have another week to chew my nails, pace the floors, and challenge myself! Voting opens every Wednesday at noon CST and ends Thursday at midnight CST. Here’s the link: Blogger Idol Voting

All you have to do is click on the link. It should (it’s a little touchy sometimes) take you right into the Idol page where you’ll see our posts listed. Below that, in the blue area, are our names with little circles to the left of them. Click on the little circle – hopefully next to MY name – and then scroll down a little to click on “vote”.

That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to sign up for anything or give them your first born child. Piece of cake! (mmmmmmm, cake.)

Thank you for taking the time to do this; I’m having so much fun and just don’t want the party to end!

Lorinda (The Rowdy Baker)

Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies

Blog6 038You will rarely find me in the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Oh, believe me…I love store-bought cookies. Chips Ahoy are my favorite road food! Vanilla wafers make a lovely dessert crust. Ginger Snaps really call to me once in a while. However, for the most part I avoid the temptation because I know I can make a better quality cookie for less money.

BUT (you knew that was coming, right?) occasionally I just have to buy a package of those lovely maple leaf shaped cookies with maple frosting in the middle.

I’ve posted my recipe for Maple Shortbread before, and absolutely love those cookies, but this time I wanted to make a sandwich cookie with a sturdier dough since shortbread is a little fragile.  My first batch was a flop. Too crispy and buttery, though definitely yummy (there were no complaints from the menfolk) but not what I was looking for.

So I played with my shortbread dough a bit and think I have found a winner. I’ll never get the dense crunchy texture of the store bought variety, but this is very close, and satisfies my craving in a big way. The dough itself has a very mild maple flavor, with the frosting in the middle carrying the maple “punch”.

I even thinned some of the dough and piped leaf veins on the top cookies. I love the look of it, and will probably play with the dough-on-dough decorating idea in the near future.

Piping dough accents.

Piping dough accents.

Baked and frosted.

Baked and frosted.

Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies
Makes about 18 sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Mine was approximately 3" x 3".
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ............
  • Frosting:
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring (like Mapleine)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • milk for thinning frosting
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease two baking sheets. (Or use parchment.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg yolk, maple syrup, and milk. Blend well.
  5. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix until it forms a smooth dough. The dough should be very stiff. If it's sticky, add a little more flour.
  6. Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough out on a generously floured surface. (To make it really easy, roll it out between pieces of floured parchment.) You want the dough to be no more than ¼" thick. A little thinner is even better.
  7. Cut out shapes with a maple leaf cookie cutter.
  8. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of dough with a couple of drops of maple flavoring and enough milk to make it easy to pipe. Put the dough in a pastry bag, or in a plastic zipper bag with the tip cut off, and pipe leaf veins on half of the cookies.
  9. Bake 9-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to show a little brown around the bottom edges.
  10. Cool completely on a rack. Frost the plain half with maple frosting (instructions below) and top with the decorated half.
  12. In a medium pan, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the maple flavoring and powdered sugar, beating well with a wooden spoon or whisk.
  14. Add milk, if necessary, a little at a time until the frosting has a consistency that's good for spreading. If it gets too firm while you're working with it, heat it on low or add a little more milk.


Flour generously. You actually want these cookies to be tough and crunchy!

Flour generously. You actually want these cookies to be tough and crunchy!

Cooking the frosting.

Cooking the frosting.

Add some frosting and top with another cookie.

Add some frosting and top with another cookie.

Now THIS is a cookie!

Now THIS is a cookie!

These are incredibly rich. Two is my limit, and I’m usually satisfied with one. They do disappear quickly though, so hide a few for yourself and savor the flavor when you have a peaceful moment.

Blogger Idol Week 2 Assignment “Cookie Enterprise Crumbles”

The Rowdy Baker
Blog6 022 cropped RICE, Wash. (AP)―Following a tip from an informant, federal agents converged on the tiny town of Rice, Wash., Tuesday, as a local woman known as “The Rowdy Baker” was arrested for baking and selling marijuana-laden cookies to Golden Years, a nearby geriatric care facility.

Marijuana use became legal in Washington in 2012, but the federal government does not officially recognize the new law.

Drug Enforcement Administration agent Richard Head said, “We can’t have her distributing drugs to the elderly; those old folks are easily led astray. It’s a gateway drug, and there’s no telling where it could go from there.  The seniors start eating her sugar cookies to help them sleep, and before you know it the old farts are selling them at the elementary school.”

When searched by DEA agents, Golden Years yielded no contraband cookies. The owner of the facility, Bud Fatty, claimed no knowledge of the special cookies. Staff and residents were not available for comment, as they were all either asleep or in the meal hall at the time.

Confidential sources report that a senior citizen rally is planned for tomorrow at the courthouse, demanding The Rowdy Baker’s release. Local hospitals report a sudden surge in admissions with severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. An orderly at the Rice Medical Clinic was injured when two elderly patients fought over a spider plant in the waiting room.

When reached for comment The Rowdy Baker, shocked by the allegations, said, “I didn’t do it! At least I don’t remember doing it.”

The Rowdy Baker, also known as Lorinda McKenna, has been under the scrutiny of the Rice Police Department for months. She has been reported to local authorities several times this year, after neighbors caught glimpses of her tending her crops topless.

topless gardening

Alleged drug seller enjoying the sun in her garden.

One neighbor agreed to speak under strict anonymity.

“It’s disgusting,” the neighbor reported. “She goes out there without a shirt on and thinks we can’t see her! If I put my spotting scope on the edge of my porch I get an eyeful, and let me tell you―it’s nothing to write home about!” The neighbor provided photographic proof of his allegations.

Russell “Russhole” McKenna, The Rowdy Baker’s husband, was brought in for questioning but was later released when he claimed, “I don’t know nothing about it. You never know what that nutcase is going to do next!”

The couple’s three children have declined to comment.

Animal Rescue was alerted to the possibility that pets in the Rowdy Baker household could be at risk and are evaluating current conditions. At Russell McKenna’s insistence they are putting two cats up for adoption that he claimed “are total stoners”, though he assured authorities that the dog and nineteen chickens were completely drug free.


One of two at-risk cats awaiting adoption due to possible drug-addiction problems.

“Proper action will be taken” assured Ima Biddy, coordinator of the rescue shelter. She collected a large baggie of what appeared to be catnip for extensive testing.

Helicopters hovered over the McKenna’s twenty-acre compound where locals lined the unpaved road, watching as officers confiscated armloads of green matter.

Neighboring farmer Steve Floyd said, “Those city boys just got themselves a big pile of tomato plants, but I sure ain’t tellin’ them bastards.”

The McKennas wait for customers at their roadside stand.

The McKennas wait for customers at their roadside stand.

A friend and neighbor of The Rowdy Baker said, “They’re not looking in the right place. She cans and freezes everything. I wondered why all that bear lard in her freezer was green. Losing her cookie profit is going to really hurt, because their roadside stand doesn’t do too well.”

Neighbors report that as The Rowdy Baker was being wrestled into the squad car she shrieked loudly, “I’m freakin’ Pollyanna, you idiots! I just want everyone to be happy!”

Because of the actions of the DEA, there is no happiness to be found in Rice today.


I have never wanted a special cookie more than I do now after reading this. I read the entire thing with a smile on my face and thoroughly enjoyed your “arrest.” I loved loved loved loved how you set up your jokes (ie – neighbor with scope and pictures). I cannot wait for your next piece. Great job you pot smoking hippie.

I really enjoyed this piece and felt that it was very well written. It flowed well and didn’t get overly wordy or too drawn-out. Excellent work.
Non-Stop Mom

Ha! Your husband giving up the cats for adoption made me laugh out loud–my husband would give my cat away in an instant, and would not hesitate to bring up her excessive catnip habit when he did it. I thought this was very imaginative and funny, and I really enjoyed reading it!
Crazed In The Kitchen

Nice job. Read just like an newspaper article. I love that you sold spiked sugar cookies to the elderly, although I was kind of waiting for you to hit someone over the head with your rolling pin.
Ice Scream Mama

This was very on target for me! I really loved it. The humor that you aimed for was successful, it was in a great, flowing format, and the pictures were an awesome touch. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the the statements such as “fighting over a spider plant.” This had great imagery and was HIGHLY entertaining. Great job!
Razorblade Brain


Whodunnit? I don’t remember.

Voting for Week 2 of Blogger Idol begins today at 12:00 Central Time. I hope you’ll read the 12 posts and vote for your favorite. And by favorite, I mean I hope you’ll vote for me!

Here’s the link: Blogger Idol Voting

This week’s assignment was to write a newspaper article about a crime that I had committed. This was a tough one for me; not because I couldn’t imagine committing a crime, but because I’d never written a newspaper article, and it’s a completely different style from what I’m used to.

Journalistic writing is concise. Clear. Factual. Definitely not my rambling, long-winded style. It took a lot of editing, and I’m grateful to be past the days of manual typewriters and carbon copies. Yay for laptops!

Voting each week is from noon central time on Wednesdays to midnight central time on Thursdays. On Friday at noon the ax falls on one blogger. I’m counting on you to keep me in the competition! Your votes count for 1/3 of the total score, so they’re very important…and so are you. THANK YOU!


Caramel Apple Pandowdy

Blog6 014Autumn is wafting out of my oven right now. More telling than the fragrance of damp leaves, bales of hay, or chrysanthemums, my kitchen heralds the season. Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, apples – these are Fall.

A trip to our local orchard proved too tempting for me, and I came home with twenty pounds of Honeycrisp apples. These are my absolute favorite for fresh eating, but also made a delectable apple pandowdy. An apple pandowdy is similar to a cobbler, lacking a bottom crust but boasting a thick top crust. In the old days dough was dropped on the top like a cobbler, but I wanted it to scream “Fall”, so I cut leaf and acorn shapes out of a cream cheese pie dough and sprinkled the whole thing with cinnamon sugar to give it a little crunch..

Because that just wasn’t enough (eyeroll) I added some homemade caramel sauce to the apple mixture. Somewhere along the way I emotionally stalled out at about four years old; I like to do things myself! It makes The Man crazy to watch me struggle with something that he could set to rights in a minute, but I want to do it myself!  Opening a jar of caramel sauce would have been the easy way to go, of course, but…


If you choose to use jarred caramel sauce in this recipe I will totally understand. No judgements from me, honest. I just get a real kick out of making everything from scratch, which for this recipe meant homemade sauce. The recipe I’m going to give you makes about a cup of sauce, which is more than you’ll need for the pandowdy, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find a good use for the leftovers. I dipped apple slices in it, but there are so many other options besides dip. I’m going to try drizzling it over oatmeal in place of brown sugar. I’ll bet that will be wonderful, especially with toasted pecans on top. Blog6 001

If you’re making the caramel sauce, you’ll need to do that first so it will have a chance to cool a bit.

To make the Caramel Sauce:

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Measure the cream, slice the butter into 8 pieces, and set both aside.
In a medium size pan with a heavy bottom, put the sugar and water and turn the heat to medium-high.
Stir constantly until the sugar melts (it will go through some strange looking stages…don’t worry… and turns a molten, deep golden brown.
Add the butter and stir until melted, then remove the pan from the burner.
Stir in the cream and vanilla. This will steam a lot – you may want to use a long handled wooden spoon. Stir or whisk until the mixture comes together into a creamy sauce. It will thicken as it cools.


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Combining the sugar and water.

An awkward, crumbly stage - almost ready to melt!

An awkward, crumbly stage – almost ready to melt!

This is what you want. Now add the butter!

This is what you want. Now add the butter!

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Stirring in the cream.

Stirring in the cream.

Caramel Apple Pandowdy
One recipe is just right for an 8"x8" casserole or deep-dish pie pan. Honestly? I'd double it and put it in a 9"x13" casserole. It's that yummy! Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream to take it over the top.
  • 3 large apples, thinly sliced (approximately 6 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ******
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 egg white
  • cinnamon sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare an 8"x8" casserole dish (2 quart) or deep-dish pie pan by greasing generously. (I use Baker's Joy)
  3. Place sliced apples into a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
  4. Add the caramel sauce, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together well and pour into pan.
  5. Make the pastry by combining the cream cheese, butter, flour, and milk, mixing well into a smooth dough. Gather into a ball and put on a piece of floured parchment. Turn to coat the dough with flour. Place another piece of parchment over the dough and roll out approximately ¼" thick. This will be much thicker than a normal pie crust.
  6. Cut into designs and place over the apple mixture.
  7. Mix the egg white with one teaspoon of water and brush on the pastry.
  8. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let the dessert cool - it's best eaten warm, not hot.
Slice those apples!

Slice those apples!

Toss the apples in sugar and spice.

Toss the apples in sugar and spice.

Brush the pastry with egg whites.

Brush the pastry with egg whites, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bubbling hot from the oven.

Bubbling hot from the oven.

A little scoop of vanilla ice cream takes this over the top.

Now go work off the calories by raking leaves or cleaning gutters so that I don’t get blamed if you can’t fit into your fancy duds for the office Christmas party!

A Rowdy Eulogy

bi logoWeek One Assignment: Write your own eulogy.


The Rowdy Baker is no more
With tears and wails we say goodbye
To one who never found a chore
In baking love with cake and pie
404426_2953197343717_580241228_nThose who knew her (to appease)
Found it wisest to retire
Well outside the boundaries
Of sacred space and baker’s ire.
profilepic2No careful measures would one see
No graceful steps or calm routine
She scoffed at dull tranquility
Basked in stress and quaffed caffeine
HPIM0898.JPGShe’d reach for flour, white and stark
Then scooping recklessly, she’d spin
And flinging wildly, find her mark
Coating board and rolling pin
Inspired by dreams of things untried
Her deft hands shaped her visions sweet
She posted all the best with pride
Her chickens got the rest to eat

eating camelinaFor those poor souls who follow rules
She held compassionate disdain
And thought of them as boring fools
Who found creative foods arcane

fu judgesAlas she fell and hit her head
While washing dishes at the sink
She slipped on suds and dropped like lead
(She may have had too much to drink)
martinisFarewell to brandished pin and scowl
Goodbye to scoops and flinging flour
Adieu her apron, mitt, and towel
We’ll meet at heaven’s happy hour
bye bye

Final result: I finished in 6th place out of 13. (I’ll take it!)

Here are the judges comments (pretty encouraging, all in all)

I always dreaded that day in English class where we had to write rhyming poetry. Mine always sounded like a bawdy limerick. I highly appreciate your ability to do it and do it with wit. However, I don’t feel like I really learned much about you. I finished and felt a bit empty and was hoping to learn more about why you bake, or why you have chickens. You never mentioned family, job, etc.. and I found myself wanting to know something substantial about you, other than the fact that you bake. Clever but left me hoping for more. Hope I get to find out more about you and your writing in the competition.
Martinis and Minivans

I really like that you did something different by going with a poem (and I really liked your poem!).  It’s always a risk to go “out of the box,” but what’s life without a little risk, right? I agree with the other judges about wishing I’d learned more about you…but I did learn little bits.  Little bits that make me want to hear more of what you have to say.  So, there’s still some mystery to you in this competition…but don’t be afraid to share that with us in future posts.
The Spaghetti Westerner

Okay, I have to admit… I was VERY hesitant about having a food blogger in the Top 13, but this just proves that you are MUCH more than a food blogger. Many of the comments on your audition revolved around the fact that you didn’t just post recipes, but you put a recipe in a story and that’s why you stood out. This post shows us exactly who you REALLY are… a writer with a passion for food. You didn’t disappoint one bit in my opinion!
My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream

Hey Rowdy!
So, here are my thoughts: I think it’s super cool that you did a poem. Way to go outside the box. I also think you did a great job representing who you are as the Rowdy Baker and what your approach to cooking is. The pics were great — but then, I’m a sucker for anyone who flips me the bird. On the downside, as much as I enjoyed the poem it did limit what you were able to tell us about yourself. I wish you had written more about YOU and who you are beyond the blog. All in all, great, creative job.
Pile of Babies

Creatively this was great. It was different than the other entries, which made it stand out. For me personally I would have preferred a poem in a eulogy, as opposed to the poem being the eulogy. I think if you had added a couple of paragraphs it would have given us a more in depth look into who you are. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next :)
GUEST JUDGE: The Crumb Diaries