Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards

I am thoroughly enjoying the butter, flour, sugar magic around here. It started with these muffins, or French Breakfast Puffs, from the Pioneer Woman.

photo by Ree, the Pioneer Woman

The muffins themselves are exquisite - very, very light with a nice nutmeg flavor. But then - you dip them in butter! Not just dip them, but drench them! Then roll them in sugar and cinnamon, making a crunchy, sweet coating. My, my. The boys call them sugar muffins. I suppose, if you had to, you could skip the butter and sugar and cinnamon - but I'd rather not eat for the rest of the day than do that. Not that I actually didn't eat for the rest of the day when I made them, but it's an idea. For some people.

We then went on to Butterscotch Pudding. Oh, boy, was this good. I won't post pictures from my own kitchen. Some of you readers with more tender sensibilities would be put off by the kitties' proximity to the bowl, as well as the dog nose encroaching ever closer, so here's one from the web:

photo from Amazon.com

Ha, ha! No, just kidding! We did it the real way, with oh-my-gosh butter and brown sugar. Is there anything more magic than butter and brown sugar? Melt 'em together, add a teensy bit of milk, and you've got caramel. More milk, some egg yolks and cornstarch, and there's butterscotch pudding. Magic, I tell ya. I got the recipe from allrecipes.com, it's Kelly's Butterscotch Pudding, only I hate to break it to Kelly, but it's MY butterscotch pudding now, because you eat it warm. With a big spoon. Or just by burying your head in the bowl, but I wouldn't do that. Well, maybe if the boys weren't here, and I'd had a bad day. I don't drink - a girl's gotta have options! Here's what it really looked like:

photo from cookiemadness.net, which I will now spend hours on, finding new (or old) ways of blending butter and brown sugar. Thank the Goddess for google images, and the places it can lead

No doubt Kelly's got a place in heaven reserved just for her, as long as she brings a big bowl of this pudding with her. Here's what my kitchen looked like:

In my dreams, anyway. OK, actually, my kitchen would be a much more forgiving color than white, but I do like those french doors. There would be a pot filler over the stove, too. Mmmm... pot filler....

I said this started with the puffs, but really it started with my grandmother's Raw Apple Cake. I woke up one morning just craving it, after not having had it since she died over 20 years ago. My mom had gathered some recipes from our old recipe box and printed them out and bound them years ago, and I was SO pleased this recipe was in there. Here's how it was written:

Raw Apple Cake
300 degrees 30 min.

1 cup oil
3 eggs
3 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup pecans
3 cups raw apples (thin)
2 teaspoons vanilla


1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup sweet milk [which is just whole cow's milk]

Cook 4 minutes after it starts to boil. Spoon on cake while hot. (leave cake in pan)

Love those detailed, exact instructions!

For the first part, the cake, mix all the dry ingredients, then stir in the eggs (beaten slightly), oil and vanilla. Once that's mixed up, add the apples and pecans. I left the pecans out since my guys don't care for them, and it came out fine. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 X 13 pan, and bake it at 300 degrees (I couldn't figure out how to make the degree symbol!) for 30 minutes, or until it starts to brown nicely on top.

For the icing, four minutes ended up being WAY too long - the caramel would have burned. A few minutes before the cake is done, cook the butter and brown sugar over medium heat until it starts to boil, and turns a light brown, then add the milk. (Be careful! It will let off a little steam) Remove from the heat right away after that. Then you immediately pour the caramel over the warm cake. Make sure to spread it evenly. What happens is, the caramel will (gulp) get a little crunchy around the edges of the pan, and will soak into the top of the cake a little. Oh, my. My palms are sweaty now.

This cake is great warm, and even better the next day, after it's had time to meld together. It ends up a little like a bread pudding. A bread pudding with crunchy-on-the-edges, creamy caramel, that is. Sorry no pictures, but it disappeared too quickly for me to even think about it. Well, that and the aforementioned cat and dog issues.

OK - well, I've spent enough time on google images for today. I have today off work, but managed to still spend the morning in front of the computer! It was actually much better than curling into a ball and hibernating, like I wanted to do. (Winter depression much? ha!) I was feeling sorry for myself for numerous reasons, and I missed the Festivus Airing of Grievances, but I feel much better now. Blogging recipes as therapy - I like it!

~~I adore brown sugar. I like how it looks and tastes. I love how it packs and how it caramelizes. When I was little I used to eat spoonfuls of it. I appreciate powdered sugar for both its chemical properties in frosting and for how pretty it makes a simple cake look, but brown sugar has far more sex appeal.~~ from NPR food commentator Bonny Wolf


Mrs. G. said...

YUUUUUMMMMMM. I'll be right over.

Galavanter said...

Ah! The French Puff Muffins are our traditional Christmas morning goodies! It is the only day each year I make them (but only because that's the only day anyone asks for them).

dharmamama said...

Please bring photos of Johnny D., Mrs. G! It'll be a party.

The boys have asked for them *twice* since I made them the day Ree posted that recipe. It's going to be one of those "fattening up for winter" winters.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I adore the idea of Festivus - The Costanza family really knows how to rock the holidays!!