The Pie Notes

A celebration of life with a touch of sweetness

Tag: chocolate pie

A Little Baker’s Dream

 

IMG_20160522_174150511_HDRChocolate and I go way back.

It all started with a dream. Watching my mom and older sisters baking away in our farmhouse kitchen, I thought, “Hey, I want to do that, too!” I channeled all of the culinary confidence a six-year-old could possibly hold, tied my apron strings, and marched to the counter that happened to be just a tad too high for me.

My sister, Sarah, assigned me easy tasks such as handing her cup measurements and fetching vanilla extract in the pantry. We were making chocolate chip cookies. Emphasis on the chocolate chip. Sarah noticed that I wasn’t doing half bad at my menial responsibilities. To my surprise, she gave me arguably the most important job of all–the pourer of chocolate chips into the beautiful, buttery dough. With wide eyes, a half smile, and an expanding ego, I tore open the bag, held it by the bottom, and right as I lifted my hand to pour–you guessed it!–disaster struck.

Morsels. Went. Everywhere.

Everywhere, except into the bowl.

I’d never thought about how many chocolate chips are really in a bag, but after picking each one up off the floor and counter, I’d estimate approximately 2.7 million. Luckily, we had an extra bag so all of our effort wasn’t wasted completely.

I didn’t have high hopes in my dream of being a great baker coming true.

Fast forward a few years. I was more comfortable in the kitchen, a bit taller, and more motivated than ever to prove to myself I could make something delicious. I decided to make for my family chocolate chip cookies without any help. I pulled out the trusty Southern Living cookbook from our aged wooden bookshelf, gathered the ingredients, preheated the oven, and got to work. By the time I was finished mixing and ready to scoop the dough, I noticed it looked different than usual. A little stickier, more liquidy, but hey, it had chocolate chips this time! Surely an improvement. I went for it. Eight minutes later, the oven beeped and I opened the door.

“MOM!!!!!!” I shouted. “What’s wrong with my cookies?!”

It was one ugly, transparent, rock hard sheet with sad little hills of chocolate chips.

“Did you add flour?” she lovingly asked.

“Of course I did!” I answered in an irritated frenzy.

Then I thought about her question and hesitantly looked over at the unopened container of flour on the counter.

“Well, maybe I didn’t…” I said, absolutely defeated by the science of baking. All I wanted was a big bowl of mom’s spaghetti and to never think about chocolate chips or flour again.

About that time, dad came in the back door after working in the field and saw the sheet of cookie paper cooling and his discouraged daughter on the verge of tears leaning against the counter. He nonchalantly broke off a piece and tasted it.

“Anna Claire, this is so good!” he said with lit-up eyes. “I love crispy cookies!”

My spirits were instantly lifted. Despite dad’s “preferences,” Mom helped me put flour in the dough and make the rest of the batch. I didn’t let any of my siblings lay a finger on dad’s special “crispy cookie.”

Needless to say, I rarely forgot to add ingredients after that incident, but when I do, I can count on my sweet mom to help me fix the problem and dear ole dad to eat my creations with a genuine smile on his face.

The good news? There isn’t flour OR chocolate chips in this delectable pie!IMG_20160523_210446809

IMG_20160522_181416380 IMG_20160522_181431189

Recipe adapted from Lee Ann Fleming, Food and Wine

…And to All a Good Night!

Well, Christmas is here.

It passed just as fast as it came!

I must say it was the best one so far, thanks to all of my loved ones. I hope that no matter where you are or who you are with, your Christmas is filled with peace and love.

And pie.

Ours certainly was!

And cookies and ham and turkey and eggnog.

First up was gingerbread baking.

gingerbread cutouts

Decorating was fun, once my brother Matt got a hold of the piping bag.

mattdecorating

This is his…creation.

gingerbread1

There was only one problem. He needed a sister.

gingerbread2

Aren’t they just, uhm, beautiful?

So much personality.

(If you’re wondering if that is her mouth, the answer is yes.)

Our Christmas Eve party was fantastic!

Sarah made some yummy “Moose Munch” that made her famous at Dad’s work.

moosemunch

We covered some pretzels and pecans with the leftover chocolate from the Moose Munch. That was a grand idea.

chocolate covered

And Toni, my sister in law (well, we can call her my sister…I frown at the term “in-law”), made her perfect Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese frosting with toffee bits on top.

When I say perfect, I mean perfect. She is famous in my book for her cupcakes. And other things as well. I just love Toni.

pumpkin cupcakes

Sarah made the Reese’s and Hershey Kiss cookies in the middle. Those were a hit!

Can you find my “Mele Kalikimaka” gingerbread girl?

desserts

…and Robert’s upside down Auburn cookie? (War Eagle!)

Don’t worry, Bama fans. He made one for you, too. See half of that scripty “A” ?

And it wouldn’t be Christmas, or a holiday in general, without pie. This is the Chocolate Pie that I adore.

chocolate pie

And my favorite non-dessert dish on our buffet, Rye Rounds.

Robert’s eyes start to bulge when he gets a whiff of these in the oven. They’re magical.

rye rounds

Maybe one day I’ll figure out why they’re not called Rye Squares.

It’s tradition, so Rye Rounds is just so Rye Right.

After all of our feasting, Robert read a few verses from Luke on the birth of Jesus beside the twinkling tree. That’s always a peaceful time for us.

The fellowship was amazing, especially since all of the siblings were together again. Robert is finally home from Texas, my sister Laura and her husband Blakeley made it over, and Matt and Toni were able to spend a couple days with us as well!

We all have a blast, and usually end up in tears from laughing so much!

We awoke to a chilly Christmas morning, so we warmed up with coffee and Stollen bread. It’s an old German recipe that we’ve made during the holidays for years and years. And years. It is sweet, comforting, and the true sign that Christmas has arrived.

Guess what I unwrapped?

pie book

I really love this book. I already read the whole thing.

There is a Tiramisu Pie for goodness sake.

I’m beginning to think that I keep receiving cookbooks just so that I will bake a pie for the giver.

And I am totally okay with that.

I will certainly be trying out some of these Southern pie recipes very soon!

But for now, I’m going to finish watching A Christmas Story 24 hour marathon with the fam and soak up the last bit of holiday cheer of 2013.

Once again, Merry, Merry Christmas! I hope your season has been filled to the brim with joy and love.

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