Hello Bakers and Friends,
I trust all is well with you and youâ€™re keeping safe. Baking makes me happy (surprise) and also seems to keep me out of trouble since these days since I wonâ€™tÂ even buy a drive-through doughnut and coffee. In Canada, you should know, some of our drive-thrus, including Tim Horton's, serve up the payment thingie, extended on a hockey stick.Â It's so Canada! (Happy 153rd Canada - July lst is your day. If I knew we were turning 153, I'd have baked us a cake!)
Iâ€™m baking that much more and I imagine you are as well.Â Â Thereâ€™s discretionary tiers to the current safety code and I score on the high side but then, bunkering down comes naturally to me. I was born for the quietly bustling, creative life. Strangely, I know folks who are bored these days and then friends like me who are busy morning to night exclaiming, â€œI donâ€™t know where the day goesâ€™. For us, Covid Life is a new career and that elusive work/life balance seems even harder lately. Itâ€™s compounded by the seasons changing but with Covid protocols, Zoom socializing, coffee in the yard with friends, reaching out to old friends, life is busy. Some people have a Zoom â€˜shirtâ€™ for WFH meetings; I keep a Zoom (aka clean) apron nearby.
But I do have that sense of waiting: waiting for things to change for the better, or be resolved; waiting for treatments, vaccines, or for a pervasive human kindness to stay consistently ignited. I also wait, there as I knead bread and chop onions, hoping that feeling, that hungering to 'go back' will cease haunting me. But it won't because it's my view that weâ€™re never â€˜going backâ€™. Plus on the way to wherever you're going, one changes enroute. By the time you arrive at that elusive destination you're a whole different creature.Â The new normal is a fluid thing that we might not ever stick a pin into like those maps that proclaim: you are here! Moreover, to wait for â€˜that momentâ€™, whatever it is, is to disavow where weÂ areÂ which is at least, isÂ somewhere. It's here and now. So hereâ€™s to â€˜here-nessâ€™. (Eckhart, are you listening?)
Â Recipes, recipes, I'm pulled apart!Â
Because Iâ€™m late testing all the recipes this month I'll forgo my usual chattiness and get to the recipes. Btw, today is/was the last day to partake of the two-for-one-BB-special btw. You can have two years of BB for the price of one. Just sign up and I'll take care of the rest.)
Pull-apart breads are trending and Iâ€™ve created one of my own that youâ€™ll love. Itâ€™s theÂ Pull-Apart Blueberry Bread. Itâ€™s wacky, easy and tastes amazing and looks interesting. Iâ€™m all for eye appeal! If you donâ€™t like blueberries or canâ€™t get them, use raspberries, apples or blackberries â€“ all good.
TheÂ free biscuit recipeÂ Â is a blue-ribbon winner. Nothing beats a biscuit with my coffee to make me feel Iâ€™m home on the range or at least experiencing a bit of PC life (Pre Covid) when a Tim Horton or McDonaldâ€™s breakfast biscuit was a treat.
then there comes this triumph: aÂ pretty, garden fresh focaccia. Itâ€™s so simple and no matter what fresh herbs and vegetables you dress it with, itâ€™s stunning. Cut in squares for your next deck party and serve, with many meters between you and your guests. This bread goes the distance in making a gathering warm and friendly.
Because we like decadent, I'm sharing my favorite Chocolate Sour Cream Devil's Food Cake recipe with you. It's a great fourth of July cake or slice-a-hunk for yourself anytime cake. If you want more Americana or Canadiana recipes for the upcoming holidays, it's all (tons of maple recipes, butter tarts and red, white and blue cheesecakes) in the BB Recipe Archives.
Iâ€™d linger with you but the kitchen is a mess and the dishwasher is broken and I forgot to have dinner because Iâ€™m stuffed with too much Blueberry Pull-Apart Bread. Time to relax! When I do relax, Iâ€™ll be watchingÂ Never Have I EverÂ (Mindy Kaling on Netflix - it's fabulous and touching), curating my scented candle collection, and reading books on the language of flowers. Oh my goodness, flowers! Forget about emoticons and texts! Once upon a time people sent various flowers to represent their feelings and intentions. The flowers were tucked in books and letters and were a message unto themselves, the sender and recipient. Clearly I was born in the wrong century by 200 years. Instead of a winky face on your Iphone, you would send someone daisies to indicate friendship or yellow roses to show loyalty, wisteria to wish a long, pink roses for romance and (hopefully not ever) begonias (anxiety). It was a sentimental, succinct and gentle way to communicate
(Big sigh). But that was then and this is now. If I'm permitted to wax lyrical about something more mundane but great fun.Â Recently,Â the New York Times published a great piece on our love affair with Oreo (c) cookies. I have created many Oreo-based recipes but this is one of my personal favorites. Please check out one more free recipe onÂ Medium.com, for myÂ Oreo Coffee Cake recipe.
Oh my, I thought I'd write a short note this month, i.e. not pondificate or go off track/topic but I did just that. It's all that sugar in me - it does strange and sometimes wonderful things.
Happy baking and big,Â safeÂ contact-free hug from me to you and yours,
Author, Master Baker
Flakey Butter Angel Biscuits
Garden Pretty Focaccia
Sour Cream Chocolate Devilâ€™s Cake