Tag Archives: Pie

Delicious Things to Eat, Drink, Cook, Bake, Read, Etc. Roundup July 2017

Episode 027- In this episode, I will let you know what I am up to food-wise and drink-wise.  It’s my thinking that you might be interested or inspired to try some of these things.  Note:  I do not receive any compensation for you clicking on any of these links. They are for your knowledge, use, and enjoyment.

If you enjoy Guys and Food, it would mean a lot if you could tell your friends and neighbors about it, or send them a link for the website or a specific podcast or blog post.


My Food Projects-  In the last month, “Baking with Joe” featured the Chocolate Beet Cake and the Fresh Mint Oreo Cheesecake from “The Harvest Baker.”  Also, we made ciabatta from Paul Hollywood’s “100 Great Breads” and Nutella stuffed cookies from Sugar Spun Run.

In the garden, my cucumbers and hot peppers are coming from the garden.  The tomatoes are “meh.”

What I’m Baking- I made the Blueberry Crisp from King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion twice, Sour Cherry Crumb Pie, Bumble Berry Pie, and Chocolate Cherry Almond Hand Pies.

What I’m Cooking- For Independence Day, I made pickled potato salad.  

Kitchen Tools I’m Using- OXO 9 x 9 baking pan, Kitchen Aid kitchen scissors.

What I’m Drinking-  Manger’s Irish Cider

What I’m Eating-  Tayto’s Crisps which I learned about from an  episode of Conan O’Brien, Turkey Hill All Natural Mango Ice Cream, and The Cheese Dream from The Good Steer.

What Cookbook I’m Reading-  I Still did not get to finish “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet” by Adrian Miller.  However, I did read “The Harvest Baker” by Ken Haedrich, Mary Berry’s Favourite French Recipes, and “The Potato Cookbook” by Janet Reeves.

Where I’m Going-  Sato Ramen where we ate spring rolls, pork buns, pork cutlet, and of course, ramen.

At Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace where I ate Mortadella and Provolone sandwiches.  I bought Saucy Susan, Sabrett’s Onions in  Sauce, pesto, sausage, and other things.

Not only do I do the podcast, there are also blog posts associated with guys and food.  A recent one has to do with the summer baking project that I am doing with my son, Joe.  There is another that covers the benefits of using an instant read thermometer over the way many professional cooks still judge if their meat is properly cooked.  Hint: It involves touching various parts of one’s body.

Please feel free to reach out and let me what you’re doing in these categories.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog. Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

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Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

Fruit Pie Problems Solved!

Episode 021-  Fruit pie season is not all unicorns and rainbows.  The bounty of fruit that comes from the spring and summer months makes it this the perfect time for putting it to good use in the guise of pies–many, many pies.   However, there are challenges that are unique to fruit pies as opposed to other types, say, custard pie for example.

Anxiety associates itself for more than a couple of reasons.   First, there  are a number of variables when putting fruit into a pie filling. Second, we have to worry about the crust which is the arch-nemesis  of so many a pie baker.  It’s enough to send some into fits of apoplexy!

Ken Haedrich is a cookbook author and pie expert, having several written books exclusively  on the subject of pie.  He also claims the title of Dean the Pie Academy, which is his website dedicated to helping people making better pie.  He provides a calming hand on the shoulder to bakers who want to get their pies right.

On the the very first episode of the Guys and Food podcast, Ken offered an overview on making great pies.  In today’s show,  he’ll get into the specifics of making fantastic fruit pies for the months ahead.

Ken has selected these recipes for you to use this coming fruit pie baking season:

To start, you need a good pastry recipe for the crust.  Ken says making a good crust is, by far, the biggest concern of people who seek his advice.  That is why he created The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course.    In this video course and the accompanying printed material, Ken walks you through the details of making pie pastry.   Instead of merely giving a recipe and saying, “Go get ’em!” he shows you what to do step-by-step.  Let’s face it, Ken is a pie sherpa!

In the spirit of full disclosure, Ken gave me free access to the course in order to evaluate it.  That said, I heartily recommend The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course for anyone who is looking for that extra hand in making pie.  Trust me, I wouldn’t recommend this unless I saw great value in it for you.  I have no other skin in the game and am not receiving any compensation if you buy this course.

As I mention in the interview, like a building, a pie needs a good foundation.  Here is that recipe.

Next, here are three fruit pies that will take you through the next few months:

It’s not too late for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

Midsummer evenings on the porch would be the perfect place for a Blueberry Ginger Pie with a Three Grain Butter Crust. 

Late summer is the perfect time for Peach Lemonade Pie with Pecan Crumble Topping.

Try them out, and let me know what you think.  As Ken Haedrich so often says, ” Pies make people happy!”  and who doesn’t want a little more people happy?

An FYI, Ken’s newest cookbook, The Harvest Baker, is coming out soon.  It will be available where all fine cookbooks are sold, including Ken’s online store.

If you enjoy listening to the Guys and Food podcast, can I ask a favor?  Can you pass this along to a food guy that you know who might like it?

Remember to subscribe to the Guys and Food podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and Tunein Radio.  In social media you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

The Guys and Food newsletter gives you delicious recipes, helpful kitchen hacks, and other things that any food guy will find useful. Some of the things in the newsletter will be exclusive, which means it won’t make it on the podcast or blog.  Sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be glad that you did! (Don’t worry, your contact information will never be sold or made available to any other person or organization.)

Please feel free to reach out with your questions or comments.  You can do that by clicking on the Contact button, email me at gabe@ guysandfood.com, or call the listener line at 716-427-GUYS (4897).

News and Reviews: Pie Successes and Failures, Hello Fresh, Chef’s Table, and Cookbooks I am Reading

Episode 014-  This show has a lot of news and reviews that you can use!

Program Note:   If you have a favorite MRE, call the listener line and tell me about your favorite! (716) 427-GUYS (4897).

If you served in the military, you’ve enjoyed field rations.  Okay, “enjoyed” is most assuredly not the best word but you have at least eaten them.  The anniversary of my enlistment date into the Marine Corps is coming up so I am preparing a show on MREs, C-Rations, etc.  Please include:

  • Your name
  • Where you’re calling from
  • Branch and years of service
  • Your favorite MRE and why

If you don’t want to call, create a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to gabe@guysandfood.com.  I will include your comments in this future episode.

Update how my food sacrifices have been going during Lent.

This presented some challenges while as my family did a test drive of the Hello Fresh meal delivery service.  You’ll recall, I did a review of Blue Apron in Episode 010 of Guys and Food.

I just started watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and I can heartily recommend it.  I will tell you why.

Because my brother-in-law is German, while at a library sale I picked up The New German Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Hedy Wűrtz. I review that book and tell you about about a newly discovered food  that is now a family favorite.

I finally got to bake the Maple Cream Pie (page 152) from Pies and Tarts by Kristina Peterson Migoya that I’ve been discussing.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I had a problem with my first attempt at the the all butter pie crust, so I will tell you what I did to fix that.

One pie is never enough and since March 14th was Pi Day (3.14 get it?!) I also made a Chocolate Silk Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust (page 502) from Pie by Ken Haedrich. 

I tucked into Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott. You’ll hear my review of that.   Incidentally, this book was nominated for a James Beard Award.

Also nominated for a James Beard Award, is The Sporkful. The show’s host, Dan Pashman was on Episode 005 of the Guys and Food podcast.  Kudos to a really nice guy!

All of the links here are for your use and enjoyment.  None are affiliate links.

Top Chef’s Gerald Sombright

Episode 012- Top Chef cheftestant, Gerald Sombright is a regular guy who made his bones in the professional cooking world, not by flashing a degree from a fancy culinary school.  Instead, he worked his way up from the bottom rung of the kitchen hierarchy.

On this episode, he takes us on his food journey, working his way up from restaurant work in Saint Louis to being Chef De Cuisine at Ario in Marco Island, Florida to being a  contestant on what is arguably the best cooking competition show on television, Top Chef.

He’ll give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to be on the show and how he almost didn’t make it past the application phase, but for his Indiana Jones-like determination.  You’ll also find out his biggest challenge and what he would do differently if he were to do the show again.  Note: The Top Chef Season 14 finale is on Thursday, March 2nd.

Also, if you listened to Episode 011 of Guys and Food, you know that I was on a  pie kick during the last week (Psssst– I still am).  It had me looking at some of my pie cookbooks.  I was intrigued by a few different recipes for maple pie.  Many of these recipes call for the darker and robust tasting Grade B maple syrup. When I asked the folks on one of my Facebook food groups where one might be able to locally source the harder to find Grade B syrup, I was told that the ABC grading system for maple syrup no longer exists.  Just like everyone gets a trophy these days, so too, all maple syrup is now Grade A.  Here is an article explaining the new grading system and how to distinguish one type of maple syrup from another.

Remember, if you are an interesting food guy (or you know one), find out how to become a guest on Guys and Food!

John Tompkins- Wall Street Exec Turned Candy Man

Episode 011-  As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, one’s mind turns to the “go to” food gift, chocolate and candy.  When thinking about chocolate and candy, my attention turns to John Tompkins, owner of JT’s Confections in New Jersey.

In the spirit of full disclosure, John and I went to college together at Buffalo State.  I wouldn’t say were were drinking buddies, but we were friendly, traveled in similar circles as we both were Resident Assistants, and we shared some mutual friends.  After graduation, he went to work on Wall Street and I ran my circuitous journey. Over the decades since graduation, I think we saw each other maybe at one or two alumni things.

When I started Guys and Food, a mutual RA friend asked if I knew that John started a candy business;  I did not.  But I found him on Facebook and we reconnected.  After so many years, it’s nice to know that he did not lose his characteristic Tompkins charm and wit.

In this episode, John shares his very interesting story of burning out from the rough and tumble of the concrete jungle, leaving that, and creating his candy business, JT’s Confections.  He has a storefront but his bread and butter is in mail-order and corporate sales.  He is also using it as a vehicle for helping out veterans and local charities.  Good for him!

This week was pie week for us.  It was kind of blustery and I was in the mood for a pie.  I opened up my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion book as it was on my kitchen table.  The book magically opened to Tourtière .  For the uninitiated, it’s a French Canadian pork pie that is totally appropriate during the cold winter months.  I was going to use the recipe in the book when I remembered that my friend, Greg, made this dish pretty regularly.  I asked and he sent me his family recipe.

Since there was no recipe for the pastry included in Greg’s, I used the pastry recipe from the King Arthur Flour cookbook.  Here the pie crust is made with shortening that is melted in boiling water.  I never tried that technique before. I have to say I was very pleased. It was crisp but not flaky and a perfect match for the tastily seasoned meat filling. It is a new family favorite.  Merci to the Methot/Grenier family!  Here is a picture of Greg’s version of the dish:

One pie was not enough.  In an effort to use a bunch of Granny Smith apples that were laying around, I decided that I needed to make an apple pie.  I used a recipe for Washington State Granny Smith Apple Pie from my favorite pie guy, Ken Haedrich’s book Pie (page  221).  It is a single crust pie (made with butter and vegetable shortening) with a crumb topping.  The pie was not too sweet, not too tart.   In truth, I think that I could have kept it in the oven a little longer to get the crust a little more brown.  Nonetheless,  my wife says it has been a long while since she has had an apple pie that was this delicious.

A handy tip for pie bakers: One challenge that many have is transferring the newly rolled-out pie pastry and getting it into the pie plate without it tearing or falling apart.  Instead of folding it into quarters (risking creases and cracks) or balancing it precariously on your rolling pin (risking dropping and crumpling), try what I refer to as “The Haedrich Maneuver.”  Simply roll out your pie pastry on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper instead of your counter top or wherever you roll things out.  When you have achieved your desired size (for example, 13 inches for a 9 1/2 inch pie plate), transfer it, turn it upside down over the plate, remove the wax paper, and tuck it neatly where it’s supposed to go.  It’s that simple!  Save yourself a lot of stress and try this the next time you make pie.

Two pies were not enough.  I also made Shepherd’s Pie from a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham (page 190). This is a misnomer as this dish is neither a pie (it’s a casserole), nor does it contain any shepherds.  Still it was simple to prepare, hearty,  and delicious.  It tasted even better the next day when we had leftovers for lunch.

Programming Alert:  On the next Guys and Food episode, you’ll hear an interview with a cheftestant from this season’s Top Chef! Can you guess who it will be? (Hint: It will be a guy.)

All of the links here are for your use and enjoyment.  None are affiliate links.




Food Books for the Holidays (or Anytime of Year)

Episode 003 – Jonathan Welch is the co-owner of Talking Leaves Books, an independent bookseller with two locations in Buffalo, New York.   He gives you ideas on what cookbooks and other food-related books make great gifts to give (and to receive) this holiday season.

He also makes a very good case on why you might want to support your local independent bookstore.  In our conversation, he mentions a resource called Indiebound, to help find an independent book store in your town.

A book to consider is Dinner Pie by a  recent guest, noted cookbook author and authority on pie, Ken Haedrich. (This is not an affiliate link)

I do a debrief on how Thanksgiving went.  This includes how I used Marmite in the meal. Incidentally, this is my first time using it.

On a whim, I whipped up a coffee cake from Warren Brown’s United Cakes of America but I had a few challenges with substitutions.

I also discuss the season premieres of Top Chef and The Great American Baking Show.

Finally, what kind of baking will you be doing for the upcoming holidays?  Let us know!


Kitchen Knives Selection, Upping Your Pie Game, and This is the First Episode!

Episode 001– This is the first episode!

Arguably one of the most important things in your kitchen will be the knives that you will use.  During my interview with The Kitchen Knife Guru,  Nate Ouderkirk discusses the selection and proper care of your kitchen knives.  He also gives some great specific recommendations for knives.  He’s helped thousands figure out what’s best, and he will help you out too!

Ken Haedrich is the author of 15 cookbooks including my absolute favorite book related to pie baking– it’s called  Pie.  Pie has 300 recipes and is over 600 pages long. He shares  his secrets of making great pies.  During the interview he discusses the pumpkin cheesecake pie that he developed in honor of his son.   More information about Ken’s cooking classes and other tips and pie recipes at The Pie Academy.

You’ll hear my thoughts on the launch of my first episode.

I decided to hold off a week because of Election Day.  See my blog post about how we might come together to settle our difference after such a divisive election.   Included in that blog post is a mention about Election Cake from Greg Patent’s Baking in America.  Here is a feature that was heard on NPR about that cookbook that includes the recipe for Election Cake.

When starting the idea for this podcast, I had grandiose plans to provide this great resource for Thanksgiving.   That may come next year.  However, here is the most comprehensive one that I have come across that is both informative and entertaining.  It is from Serious Eats.

Thanks to Amy, Joe, Cliff Ravenscraft, Pat Flynn, Dave Jackson, and everyone else who has been very supportive to me.  This is a labor of love and it took me a very long time to get to the point of having a first episode.

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Let’s Settle our Political Differences at the Table

“On this Election Day, I offer your attention to something that people of all political persuasions could probably agree on—the healing power of food.”


Certainly, this has been the most contentious election in memory.  Clinton v. Trump will be one for the record books for sure.  Never have I seen such discord in a presidential election; interestingly, I seem to say that every four years.

That doesn’t mean this level of rancor never existed.  Remember, the entire South left the Union after Lincoln was elected.  Our history is full of examples of times when our civil discourse was much less civil during elections. So we should put things in perspective.

On this Election Day, I offer your attention to something that people of all political persuasions could probably agree on—the healing power of food.  First, regardless if it is “right” or not, eating comfort food physiologically makes you feel better.  The chemical reactions produce endorphins (or something like that) and Boom! You feel better.  Food makes you feel better emotionally too.  Bread and butter or grandma’s lasagna take you back to another time and can be the equivalent of a nurturing hug when you really need it.  If you decide you will celebrate (or drown your sorrows) in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia,  a box of Entenmanns’s Chocolate Chip Iced Cake, or a rib eye steak the size of your head, I am not going to judge.  I firmly and unabashedly approve of the message that there is a palliative effect to eating.  Go for it.

After the hangover of celebration (or mourning), we have to decide as a country what to do next.  We simply can’t all move to Canada, nor can we take up arms in insurrection.  That’s not what we do.  Everyone who voted loves their country and wants to us to be better tomorrow than we are today.  We simply have different views on how to get there.  In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we have to figure out how we are going to do that.  Every other time, we have managed, somehow, to come together.  We have to do that again.  There is no alternative.

A Modest Proposal

In a recent interview for the soon-to-be-released Guys and Food podcast, I spoke with Ken Haedrich.  He is a cookbook author and an authority on pie.  He described pie as more than a combination of ingredients encased in a crust.  It’s a food that brings people together.

“You set a pie out on the table with a diverse crowd group of people and all of the other differences sort of melt away.  It doesn’t matter what your political persuasion is or your religion, or anything like that.  All of sudden it’s ‘pie’ and everybody loves one another.”

So if you and your brother-in-law disagreed on who the next president should be or you were unfriended on Facebook by someone who thought your candidate was not the best fit, take a breath and invite them over for some pie.  The mere act of sharing that dessert can start healing your relationships and by extension, our country.

If pie is not your thing (I will judge you on this character flaw) and you want to bake something that is delicious and historically appropriate, I offer this recipe for Election Cake.Election Cake

Election Cake has a long history in our country, having been served traditionally on, you guessed it, Election Day and other large gatherings.  It is very similar to panettone in that it’s a sweet yeast bread stuffed with dried fruit.  In this recipe, I used equal parts golden raisins, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and citron.  It’s also fortified with brandy and Madeira wine with more than a huge whiff of nutmeg.  It is very tasty when toasted with a slather of unsalted butter.  Give it a whirl!  The recipe I used was from Greg Patent’s Baking in America.  Here is a feature that was heard on NPR about that cookbook that includes the recipe for Election Cake.  Note that, with three different risings of about two hours each(not including baking time) this takes a good part of the day to bake.

Note:  While you’re sharing it with someone who didn’t vote for your candidate, try not to discuss political emails or the size of a particular candidate’s hands.

Wednesday Baking with Joe

PizzaOver the summer break, in an effort to enjoy a bonding experience and to keep my son off of the damn Xbox, we established a routine of baking on Wednesdays.  It started initially as bread baking but quickly expanded to crackers, donuts, and other baked goods.

Why Baking?

Why not baking?  First, Joe loves bread and butter as many kids (and adults) do.  Getting him to cook things that he likes is easier than say having him scale and gut a whole fish  There was no objection from me by adding dessert to the repertoire either. Triglycerides aside, I like desserts and so does my son.  So if we are going to be in the kitchen, let it be making things we mutually enjoy.

Baking was also good choice because the assembly of ingredients is easier.  Spooning cups of flour and teaspoons of cinnamon requires less interaction with knives than cooking.  So too, there was less open flame involved, though we would eventually get there when we took a foray into donut land.

100 Great BreadsKing Arthur Flour Baker's Companion

How it worked

Joe drove the bus on the things that we baked.  He perused my many cookbooks and selected which recipe he found interesting.  Primarily, we baked from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion and Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads.  My son’s job was to assemble the ingredients and to portion them.  Then, we would go over the recipes, resolve any questions, and start a bakin’.

The Challenges

My son is ten years old and has the attention span commensurate with that age so another thing to watch out for was to putting the ingredients in the correct bowl at the correct time.  Baking is more of a science, and I have learned the hard way that this matters. Also, little things such as putting the salt on top of the yeast may kill the yeast’s desire to make the bubbles necessary.

Aside from the concerns of open flames and sharp knives associated with the kitchen, there were other safety issues.  One of my family’s nicknames for me is Captain Caution, for good reason.  It is the standard operating procedure for me to think of all the things that could go wrong and think of the contingencies should those things occur.  I’m a stocky, bald, Jason Bourne without the sex appeal of Matt Damon.  I admit to this and try to make sure that Joe’s exuberances were balanced with thoughtful concern for safety.  For example, when handling hot pans, we use oven mitts or dry dishtowels.  I gently point out that perhaps it would be wiser to unplug the mixer before licking the beater.

A benefit of this process is that I learned to trust my boy more as the weeks passed.  He learned a healthy respect for the things that might happen, and I found myself not jumping in (as much) to head off any potential danger.  I overcame my fear and need to control things, and he gained more confidence in the kitchen.  In fact, on a non-baking project day, Joe asked if he could bake chocolate chip cookies entirely by himself.  I allowed this with the exception of turning on the oven.

Other Benefits

Anytime I get to interact with my son that doesn’t involve me telling him to brush his teeth or to pick up after himself is generally a good thing.  We both love to learn things and it was extra fun to share the discovery with him as opposed to telling him about it.  Also, my heart warmed as he delivered a sample for his mom to taste. He beamed at her satisfaction.  You can’t manufacture that enthusiasm.

The project was both fun AND educational.  We learned about history as we discussed the origins of some older bread recipe names and why some ingredients might have been used instead of others.  We learned the science of yeast and why some things  needed kneading while others did not; we enjoyed the word play of “needing kneading” too! We engaged actively in math.  For example, in Hollywood’s book we  had to mathematically adjust the amount of dried yeast because his recipes called for fresh yeast.

Now with school well underway with homework, music lessons, and other extracurricular activities, we’ve talked about switching things from Wednesdays to Saturdays.  That hasn’t happened yet.  I hope it does because I had a lot of fun.

I think Joe did too.

Here is the list of the things we baked during the summer with the appropriate Facebook posts that accompanied them:

Week 1

White Bread

White Bread

Week 2

They call it Batch Bread.  A very old British recipe from Georgian times. It has sugar and butter in it!


Week 3

They call it Naan.  It’s cooked on cast iron because there is no traditional brick oven as used in India.  The dough was sticky which accounts for its less than symmetrical shape. I will say we were going for the rustic look.


Week 4.

So far we’ve done breads from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads including white bread, naan, and something called Batch Bread.

This week my boy decided that he wanted pizza AND garlic bread made from scratch as part of the project.

The ciabatta is from Hollywood’s book and was used for the garlic bread.

The pizza dough is from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook.


Week 5

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.  This type of bread is not a yeast bread recipe that Joseph and I have been making heretofore.  This is bejeweled with walnuts and chocolate chips and makes a nice addition to breakfast.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Week 6

As is his wont, Joseph chose to shake things up and bake cheese crackers this week instead of bread.  I think next week, he indicated he wants to go back to bread.

Cheese Crackers

Week 7

Last week, we did cheddar crackers, but it is back to bread this week! Joe and I made an English bread called farl. It is a butter enriched bread also known as “oven bottom,” because it was traditionally baked at the bottom of the oven. Imagine that?!  It is from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads.

FarlWeek 8

While we’ve been doing mostly breads, Joe wanted to make chocolate donuts with chocolate glaze from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.

DonutsWeek 9

Today, Joe and I made bagels! Especially timely since our bagel shop down the block closed about a week and a half ago.

We dig into them for breakfast tomorrow but I am already thinking on next time taking a stab at sesame seed bagels and (dare I mention) bialys!

BagelsWeek 10

Due to a shift in priorities, baking bread has broadened to baking in general.  Today, Joe and I made Chocolate Éclairs! I would have made more pastry cream but otherwise I think it was a success for a first try!Eclairs

Week 11


Today, Joe and I made Orange Cranberry Scones. Delightfully light and not too sweet, these will be great for breakfast tomorrow.