ATK’s squash galette

so i made this squash galette today from america’s test kitchen via lynne rosetto kasper (on twitter).

Copyright 2016 America's Test Kitchen (Daniel J. van Ackere)

Copyright 2016 America’s Test Kitchen (Daniel J. van Ackere)

and it was really time consuming. cubing squash is not my most favorite thing to do on the planet, that’s for sure.

but it was really yummy. and FILLING. omg. i don’t think it could ever replace just squash at a thanksgiving meal. it could be a nice appetizer, but the whole wheat crust really fills you up, and you’d have no room for dressing during t-day.

also, if you weren’t going vegetarian (this was vegetarian option for thanksgiving guests), this could definitely benefit from some pork product – sausage, bacon, something. 

i definitely would make this again, and i’m thinking about making just the filling for thanksgiving. throw some bacon in it, and it would be delish. or if there were a less filling way for it to get from table to mouth – a cracker, perhaps? i might make it for an appetizer. we’ll see what happens!

cookie time is here!

the little-known song in charlie brown christmas, of course, is “cookietime is here”. 

this weekend was cookie baking time! i actually started last weekend with my macarons (they’re better aged) and baked a couple batches of cookies throughout the week. charlie came this weekend and hung out, and helped out with a couple of the cookies (like the double-batch of molasses ginger that he requested).


IMG_1438i tried something new this year (well a couple things). instead of using my boring, dry peanut butter batter for my blossoms that i always do, i looked up with america’s test kitchen had to say on peanut butter cookies. it looked a little more fancy than my other recipe, so i decided to give it a go.

i made the ATK peanut butter cookie recipe and stuck a chocolate star in the cookies and called it good. i don’t mind it, and it’s decent! i’m not a huge fan of just peanut butter cookies, so this is good news. sorta point, ATK??

also during the week i made my eggnog snickerdoodle cookies, which, along with the molasses ginger, are my favorite cookie of the season. 


and of course i had to make these dumb, tedious things because not only are they my dad’s favorite cookie, but they’re nate’s as well. good grief.


they’re pretty to look at, but man they take a lot of time.

new this year! i decided to try making spritzes. i needed a cookie press for this, so i managed to get to tjmaxx friday on my way home from work and pick on up. on the plus side, i can also use it for piping frosting, and the container is a lot bigger than my other frosting piping apparatus. after a couple failed attempts at the press, i had to sit down and watch a youtube tutorial on how to use it. huzzah! who knew i needed to click it twice to get it to stick. 



and i tried to make rosettes again this year. i don’t know if it’s my irons, the batter recipe, or what, but i do not like the way they turn out. they’re still good; you can’t go wrong with deep-friend batter covered in powdered sugar. they just look weird, and i wonder what i’m doing wrong. 



mmmmmm balls of deliciousness….

i also made some chocolate candies in silicon molds and some covered nuts and my peanut butter krispy balls. every year i try to make fewer cookies, and it seems like every year i add more cookies on. might be time to do a culling. at least i give a lot of them away. there’s something to be said for at least not eating all of them by myself like i used to!

ATK: pumpkin bread

i think my baking powder is shot. this is the second recipe i’ve made out of ATK that should’ve risen at least a tiny bit more than it did (the first was white cake). bread like this should not be insanely flat. 


i roasted and pureed some pie pumpkins last weekend, and i was itching to make something pumpkiny out of them. why not see what america’s test kitchen had for pumpkin bread?

turns out, it has something DELICIOUS.


the weird thing about this recipe? you cook the pumpkin with the spices over the stove before you mix it into the recipe. i think this is twofold reasoning: canned pumpkin might be a little more watery than fresh, and it infuses the spices into the pumpkin while bringing out pumpkin flavors.


no overload on spices; the recipe just called for minimal amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. a couple weird additions: cream cheese and buttermilk.

now, i may have screwed up this recipe and been my own undoing. i “made” buttermilk with whole milk and vinegar (totally acceptable!!) AND i substituted cottage cheese for the cream cheese (the internet told me to do it). (i didn’t want to go to the store again.)


add a nice, crumbly topping, and into the oven it goes. i baked this for more than the allotted time, and it was still a little gooey in the center. was this due to my weird substitutions? am i just horrible at baking breads like these? is the skewer a liar? THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW.


see? a little weirdly flat-ish. and sunken in the center. i think i have to get new baking powder and see if that fixes it.


but DANG if this isn’t some of the best pumpkin bread i’ve eaten. you can really tell it’s PUMPKIN, not just a conduit for pumpkinesque spices. 

point: ATK

ATK: the white cake

my sister liz is the cake person. i am the cookie person. but, when she has a birthday, i guess i become the cake person by default! she requested this cake because it was the best recipe she’d found for white cake (and she’s been through a lot). 

cake_recipeso, not being a cake person, i had to be told that the weird thing about this cake is that you don’t stiffen your egg whites. i didn’t know that stiffening them was the norm. instead, you beat your egg whites with milk until they’re mixed, then add it to the batter later on. the weird thing, in my opinion, was that after mixing your dry ingredients, you added chunks of butter and blended it like you would a pie crust (those i know!).

cakeflouri even went all out and bought actual cake flour. 

the EPIPHANY OF THE YEAR: greasing and flouring your cake pans, then lining the bottom with parchment rounds.

pansOMG i will never make a round cake again without doing this. taking the cake out of the pan has never, ever been easier.



seriously – run a knife around the edge, and this just plops out of the pan. peeling off the parchment is no big deal, as you can see.

regardless of the parchment thing, which is awesome, this is pretty darn good white cake. it didn’t really rise in the middle – in fact, it kind of sank – and it was dense, but not too dense. plus it was delicious; i could have eaten the entire bowl of batter and been ok with it.

i made a chocolate ganache for the frosting (i cup heavy cream + 10 oz. chocolate chips + vanilla), and because i was pressed for time, it was a little messy. if i’d made this earlier, it would’ve been more frostingesque.

piecepoint: ATK






ATK: tiramisu

tiramisu-recipei offered to make my mom tiramisu for her birthday since we won’t be making any trips to ciatti’s anytime soon 🙁

turns out, tiramisu is relatively easy. the hardest part was finding mascarpone and ladyfingers. 

first you make some coffee and stir in some rum to soak the ladyfingers in before laying them nice and neat in a 9×13 pan. then mix up egg yolks, sugar and salt, then add in the 1-1/2 lbs of mascarpone cheese (it’s like cream cheese)

that's $16 worth of mascarpone

that’s $16 worth of mascarpone

whip up some heavy cream and add it to the sugary mascarpone mix. then time to layer!yum

ladyfingersi ran out of ladyfingers 🙁

i may have made a vital mistake while i went to find ladyfingers: i should have put everything in the fridge, but i didn’t think i was going to be that long. the mascarpone breaks down if it gets too warm, and when i came back the remaining mix was a little chunky. 🙁 my lack of foresight on the ladyfinger front may have been my undoing. 


either way, it’s got to taste good, right? we’ll find out tomorrow when we eat it for birthday dessert.


blueberry pie
Serves 8
mmm mmm blueberry pie
Write a review
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Crust for 2 9-inch crusts
  1. 2 c. flour
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1 c. fat (butter, lard, crisco)
  4. 1/4 c. sugar
  5. Cold water til dough comes together (1/4-1/3 c.)
For the pie
  1. 6 c. blueberries (3 pints)
  2. 1/4 c. cornstarch
  3. 3/4 c. sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
  5. 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  6. 1/4 tsp. salt
  7. 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  1. Mix flour and salt together. Add cubed, cold butter chunks or other fat. Use fingers to mix and crumble together. Add water gradually until dough comes together. Bring dough together and cover - you can flatten it in a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap or just cover the dough ball. Put in fridge while you deal with the berries.
  1. Mix the cornstarch, cardamom, sugar, salt, orange zest, and optional nutmeg together. Add to blueberries in a large bowl and mix it all together. Set aside and grab the dough.
  2. Set your oven: 400º
Put it together
  1. grease your pie plate. cut the dough in half and roll out half on a floured surface, flipping at first to make sure it doesn't stick. put it in the plate. throw those berries in. roll the rest of the dough out and cut off the jagged edges with your pizza cutter. cut into strips - 10-12 at least. lattice the strips by laying strips one way across the pie, then pulling them back alternating to insert the strips the opposite way. cut off the excess dough and make sure edges are all cohesive by using a fork on the edges or other method. time for the oven!
To bake
  1. bake at 400º for 30 mins, the drop temp to 350º for another 45-60 minutes til filling is thickened and bubbly.
Adapted from andrew zimmern
Adapted from andrew zimmern
Life in the Cheese Drawer


ATK: the chewy brownie

nate says my old recipe is better. i don’t think so.


what’s weird about this recipe? well, it calls for optional espresso and boiling water. it has a lot of ingredients, which is something i don’t like to see in something that replaces box mixes. but oh well, because this is DELICIOUS.

now, nate was a little liberal with the directions. he just tossed in chocolate without weighing it and replaced the vegetable oil with coconut oil (which he EYEBALLED – baking is a science! omg, i nearly had a heart attack).

but these turned out awesome. i highly recommend replacing the vegetable oil with coconut (if you like coconut) because it was like eating a little piece of heaven. i had a bowl of brownie bits, raspberries, and cream today, and it was like summer in my mouth. i took some to work and got nothing but raves about it. gave some to my mom and i haven’ heard from her since – she may have died from chocolate overload.

point ATK.

ATK: brownies test 1


i gave the america’s test kitchen brownies a go, since my sister liz asked for all the recipes they had on the matter (she’s on a brownie kick, i think). weirdly enough, the brownies are at the end of the cookie section, so we’ll say this is a part of the original cookie test.

the recipe had no weird things, i’m happy to say. it did call for two kinds of chocolate, but i was ok with that. the only adjustment i made was it called for 1-1/4 cups of sugar, but i stopped at 1 cup because i used semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet (the recipe called for either).

ATK has three kinds of brownies (ok, 4, but the fourth is a low-fat version, and who wants that??): classic, chewy, and fudgy. i made the fudgy. they turned out dense and delicious, but i’m going to try the chewy version next in hopes that it will be even better.

ok, ATK did call for one weird thing. you made the brownies in an 8″ square pan, but you got SIXTY-FOUR brownies out of it???? come on, ATK. no way on earth people are cutting up 1″ brownies. i had a difficult time getting 16 brownies out of the pan.

point: up in the air. it was good, but i think the recipe i had previously was a little better. however, mine are more chewy. i’ve got to compare apples to apples i think.

ice creeeeaaaammm

i ordered an ice cream maker.


for father’s day, i made homemade vanilla ice cream. once again, i followed america’s test kitchen’s recipe, and boy did they deliver (i know i’m deviating from the cookie script, but you’ll have to deal with it). that might’ve been the tastiest ice cream i’ve ever had.

icrecipethe weird thing in this? a couple. first, it calls for DEVIL’S SYRUP. ugh. not impressed, ATK. so i replaced it with lyle’s golden syrup, which i found at hy-vee! then, after you cook your cream, sugar, and eggs all up, you freeze one cup of the mixture and just put the rest in the fridge, which apparently helps with keeping the ice cream smooth.

custardthis morning i woke up and churned the ice cream. what a drag. i grabbed my parents’ ice cream churner, which i think they used once. concocted a bit on the drill to churn it for me, but it still took forever. plus, i used up all my ice and half a box of salt.

(that alone would get me to buy an ice cream maker.)

BUT the result was FANTASTIC. five stars – would make again. point ATK!

next i’m going to try chocolate ice cream, and i’m hoping to make some less calorie-laden desserts, like maybe some sorbet, sherbert, or ice milk?? not sure. we’ll have to see.

but, considering that the grocery in town only carries two little pints of ben and jerry’s for its devil’s-syrup-free ice cream, i’d say an ice cream maker might be an investment.

in other news, i’m going to have to start running more often.



ATK: ultimate oatmeal cookies

NOTHING WEIRD. i was shocked.


this recipe calls for pecans, dried cherries, and chocolate chunks, BUT it says you can swap out the additions for other stuff, so i used pecans, craisins, and chocolate chips. i’m not a huge fan of nuts in my cookies, so i put in about half the amount it called for.

is toasting your pecans a weird thing? i don't think so.

is toasting your pecans a weird thing? i don’t think so.

i am always a fan of oatmeal anything (except oatmeal raisin cookies, because they are SO DECEIVING!), so i skipped over the peanut butter cookies and went straight to oatmeal. maybe i’ll come back to peanut butter cookies.


recipe called for it to make 16 cookies, and i got about 20 out of the dough. ATK calls for ginormous serving sizes. those cookies would’ve been the size of my head! there are a couple i made that ARE the size of my head!


these are pretty darn good cookies. i always have a tough time finding a decent oatmeal-chocolate recipe, so i’ll give the point to ATK.

ATK: double-chocolate cookies

well, it turns out i’m not going to make EVERY cookie in the america’s test kitchen cookbook; some of them contain DEVIL’S SYRUP. i’m not going to bend my boycott for you, ATK.

so i jumped ahead a couple recipes, and the next in line was the double chocolate cookie. this is an intense cookie. it calls for melted chocolate AND cocoa powder. if you wanted to be really intense, you could add some chocolate chips to it as well. not to mention it calls for instant coffee/espresso powder. o.O recipe


i didn’t have instant coffee OR espresso powder, so on recommendation from nate, i ground the heck out of some coffee we already had. it was dark chocolate truffle flavored as well, so i’m sure that added to the chocolateyness that was these cookies.


4 eggs in these cookies! that is a ton. the recipes calls to spread the coffee over the whisked eggs to let it dissolve, but i didn’t do that great of a job when spreading, so it just sort of sat there.


when everything was in, it looked a lot like brownie batter and had the consistency of brownie batter (except a wee bit thicker). i was all set to go, when i realized i hadn’t added the cocoa powder. and the batter looked and tasted completely fine. what the heck; more chocolate never hurt anyone. (except dogs. don’t feed your dogs chocolate.)



i seriously could’ve made brownies with this batter. it calls to roll it into balls, but to heck with that. i just scooped it onto the sheets with my cookie scoop. unfortunately, they looked like little turds.



these baked pretty quick – you can bake them two sheets at a time as well, as long as you rotate halfway through.


holy crap; these are delicious, but you seriously need something to cut them with – a huge glass of milk or bowl of ice cream will do the trick. using these to make ice cream or cream cheese frosting sandwiches would be a stellar idea.

all the other ATK cookies i’ve made i can scarf down one after another. these are 2 and done. i don’t know if i would necessarily make these again, but they are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

point: ATK (? maybe?)