Apricot Pocket Cookies

Apricot Cookies
SCENE ONE: 2:16 a.m. after their eighth date, a couple are entwined on the couch, an empty bottle of wine and two wine glasses are located on a table in front of them. A small bowl of homemade truffles sits between the glasses.

[kissing, kissing, kissing]

Him: “It’s late. I should probably go home soon.”

[more kissing, kissing, kissing]

Me: “Do you want to go home…or do you want to sleep here?”

[continued kissing, kissing, kissing]

Him: {silence}

Me: “It’s not a trick question.”

[more kissing, kissing, kissing]

Him: {silence}

Me: “Okay…I’ll answer for you. You want to go home.”

Him: {silence}

[kissing, kissing, kissing]

Him: “I guess I owe you some sort of apology or explanation.”

Oh god, please don’t apologize. That will make me feel like more of a lusty sexual deviant than I already do. And, as far as an explanation, what could you possibly tell me that would make me feel better about getting shot down for sex? I either don’t want to know or – if you have a valid excuse – this situation just became way too complicated for me.

I don’t let him give me an excuse, but I manage to think up a few of my own.

10 reasons he won’t sleep with me:
1) He finds me unattractive
2) He’s transgendered or gay and hasn’t worked up the courage to tell me
3) He has a secret girlfriend and he doesn’t want to “cheat” on her
4) He thinks sex will make me too “attached” [It won’t]
5) He’s bad in bed
6) He thinks I’ll be bad in bed
7) He has an STD
8) He thinks I’ll make him stop sleeping with other people [which is true]
9) I stink [armpit, cooch and breath check!]
10) He has ED or some other medical issue that precludes the horizontal mambo

SCENE TWO: It’s 6:00 p.m. the next evening. The same woman, alone, is curled up on the couch wearing her pj’s. Two cats sleep soundly beside her. On her lap is a platter of these cookies that she is devouring – one by one and without regret. Sometimes – most times, actually – the easiest company is our own.


Apricot Pocket Cookies

  • Servings: 27 cookies
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Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup apricot jam
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated (don’t overmix).
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a 1” thick scare. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a rectangle 9” x 12”. Cut the dough lengthwise into 3 strips 9” x 4”. Spread each strip with apricot jam and sprinkle with walnuts. Starting from the long side, roll each strip into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice each log into 1” pieces and place on a parchment or silicon lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until golden brown, 22-25 minutes.
  5. To decorate, melt chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every 30 minutes until smooth, about a minute. Drizzle cookies with chocolate and dust with powdered sugar.

 

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Thai Iced Tea

Two glasses of refreshing Thai Iced Tea
This summer, I’ve been ordering Thai delivery on an alarmingly regular basis from my favorite Thai food place. While I do indeed adore Thai food, I realize my cravings are focused less on the spicy coconut-infused curries and concentrated more on the sweet and creamy Thai iced tea that comes free with every order. I’ve caught myself slurping the last remnants with my straw before I’ve even managed to open all the food containers.

Realizing the ridiculousness of ordering a complete Thai meal every time I crave an iced tea, I decided to make my own. Unfamiliar with the actual ingredients in Thai tea, some quick Googling uncovered Pantai Norasingh Thai Tea mix available on Amazon and Ebay which produces tea with the same saffron-orange hue and vanilla aroma as my favorite restaurant tea. I’ve heard Thai tea is made with sweetened condensed milk, but after a few delicious Thai tea taste tests this week, I decided that my personal preference is a blend of whole milk and half and half. I’ve already made two batches.


Thai Iced Tea

  • Servings: about 3 cups of concentrate
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup Pantai Norasingh Thai Tea Mix
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk*
  • ½ cup half and half*
  • Ice

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil and add the Thai tea mix and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring back up to a boil. When sugar is dissolved and tea is boiling, remove from heat, cover and allow tea to steep one hour (30 minutes will work if you can’t wait a whole hour for your tea).
  2. Strain the tea leaves, pressing down on leaves to extract as much tea as possible.
  3. Refrigerate tea.
  4. To serve, combine milk and half and half in a small pitcher or measuring cup. Fill two glasses with ice and fill glasses ¾ full with tea. Add milk mixture until glass is full. For the quintessential Thai iced tea layers of tea and milk, pour milk slowly over the back of a spoon. Stir and enjoy.

*You can use whole milk, half and half, sweetened condensed milk, or coconut milk. I like the richness the combination of whole milk and half and half imparts.

After 8 Mint Chip Gelato (Version 2)

Mint Chip Gelato Recipe
I’m an autumn girl. This favored season of mine showers me with crisp sweater weather, falling crimson leaves and cozy fires that align with my introvert’s sensibilities. And I cannot forget autumn’s bounty of rib-sticking roasted meats, soups and stews that beckon my German sensibilities as well. And yet, I bask in the first few weeks of summer – perhaps even more than autumn. Summer’s constant sun soaks through my tired flesh and warms my very soul. Birds sing the song of summer throughout the trees during the day while crickets serenade the night away, calming me. The longer days encourage my evening walks and dining alfresco – the TV is left silent. And my kitchen is inspired by summer’s bounty of sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, juicy nectarines and, of course, freshly made gelato.


After 8 Mint Chip Gelato (Version 2)

  • Servings: 1 ½ quarts
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This is my post-gelato school updated version of a 2012 recipe. Measurements are in grams.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams 2% milk
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves, washed, patted dry and lightly packed – about 2 cups
  • 145 grams sugar
  • 16 grams corn syrup
  • 1 gram salt
  • 38 grams powdered milk
  • 1 gram guar gum
  • 1 gram carob
  • 250 grams heavy whipping cream
  • 2 grams vanilla
  • 1 package chocolate dinner mints, chopped (such as Andes) – about 1 cup

Directions

  1. Heat milk to 104 degrees. Remove from heat, add ¾ of mint leaves, stir, cover and let steep for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Strain mint, pressing to extract as much mint oil as possible. Re-warm milk mixture. At 104 degrees, add sugar, corn syrup and salt. Continue heating and stirring milk mixture. At 144 degrees, add powdered milk mixed well with guar gum and carob. Heat milk to 194 degrees to pasteurize and immediately remove from heat.
  2. Cool milk mixture in ice bath, adding cream and vanilla when mixture’s temperature is reduced to 144 degrees. Add remaining 1/4 of mint leaves and emulsify with a stick blender. When mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour through a sieve and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Make gelato in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Add chopped mints about one minute before gelato is finished.

Mint Chip Gelato Recpe

Quick Apple Sticky Buns

Quick sticky buns

Over 20 years ago, a young woman traveled to Sedona and stayed, on recommendation, at Don Hoel’s cabins. They were a cluster of small cabins near Oak Creek, looking a bit tired, but still cozy and homey, each with a kitchen, fireplace and a separate bedroom.

12 years later, she returned to Sedona and the first lodging she considered was Don Hoel’s. She was disappointed to learn she couldn’t reserve a cabin – the owner was selling and the cabins were closed. She stayed just down the road at Junipine, at a place that was neither cozy nor homey. During that trip, she drove past Don Hoel’s and saw the large “For Sale” sign across the closed gates. Even then, she daydreamed about buying it. The place was big – over 20 acres, with 20 cabins and a market. Her thoughts on the matter stayed in the daydream world.

The woman is back again. The place is now renamed, owned by a young couple for the past 5 years . They’ve polished the place up, adding the much needed character, and turned it into a little gem. The woman, who is not so young anymore, is envious. Again, she thinks “I could do that” and this time she doesn’t consider it just a daydream.


Quick Apple Sticky Buns

I don’t usually use packaged or pre-made products and call them my own, but sometimes busy mornings call for shortcuts. Adapted from Real Simple Quick Sticky Buns.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 10 pieces
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 7.5 ounce tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop a piece of butter in the bottom of 10 muffin tins. Divide apple among tins and sprinkle with pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Top each with a biscuit.
  2. Bake until golden brown, 8-12 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with a baking sheet and flip the tin over. Tap the bottom to release the buns.
  3. Combine powdered sugar with enough water to make a thick glaze. Drizzle glaze on still-warm sticky buns. Serve warm.

Caramel Latte Frosting

Caramel Latte Frosting

Mmm…frosting. Don’t mind if I do!

“Happy Anniversary!” – or is it “Happy Birthday?” We’re 9 years old today. For a girl who can’t stay committed to much of anything, I’m astonished to find TwoBitTart is still going – and growing! I starting this blog in 2008 with a different name (Phorenications) and a different mission – and nine years later, what began as a silly little hobby has grown into a big part of my life. This anniversary deserves some cake – like Bananas Foster Cake with Caramel Latte Buttercream Frosting.


Caramel Latte Frosting

  • Servings: Frosts one 8” round cake
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Caramel and coffee flavor this not-too-sweet frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 6.5 ounces sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons strong coffee
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Pinch salt
  • 7 ounces softened butter

Directions

  1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns coppery brown. Remove caramel from heat, cool slightly, and add coffee and whipping cream (caramel may bubble).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat yolks. Add caramel to yolks in a steady stream. Continue whipping until mixture has cooled to body temperature. Add 1/3 of butter and whip. Add remaining butter and whip until frosting is pale tan, fluffy and a spreadable consistency. In addition to banana cake, this bittersweet frosting would pair nicely with rich chocolate cake.