Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sweet Corn Sugar Cookies

I feel awkward talking about cookies today.  It seems more trivial than usual to be focusing on butter and sugar when people have been buried and found in the mountains by earthquakes and another city has gone feral in front of TV cameras.  In a week where marathoners ran in defiant celebration, and the supreme court is deciding whether people can love each other legally, the relevance of a recipe is negligible at best.

And yet, it is what I have*.

It is, at least, an outstanding irrelevant recipe.

Sweet Corn Sugar Cookies | Cheesy Pennies

Monday, April 20, 2015

Better Together

With apologies and much respect to Jack Johnson:

There is no combination of words I could put on screen of my MacBook 
No song that I could sing, but I can certainly cook
These dreams, and they are made out of real things 
Like chocolate chip cookies 
Smushed with deep dark chewy brownies 
These are the answer, 
At least for most of the questions in my heart 
Like what's for dessert? And can I have two? 
And is making them not too hard? 
It's actually easy, and
They're so darn great you must believe me 
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when they're together 

Brookie Bites | Cheesy Pennies

Mmm, it's always better when they're together 
Yeah, we'll be licking our lips when they're together 
Well, it's always better when they're together 
Yeah, it's always better when they're together 

Brookie Bite Dough | Cheesy Pennies

Mmm, mmm, mmm 

Brookie Bites II | Cheesy Pennies

I believe in Brookie Bites 
They are so, so tasty just to eat 
Plus, when I wrap 'em up, 
They stay delicious, all the way to N.C. 
Now these are favorites of mine 
And there is no, no better mash up I've seen
Caramelized cookie dough and intense chewy brownies
Yeah, I had to tell you this thing 

Brookie Bites III| Cheesy Pennies

They're better together.

Brookie Bites IV | Cheesy Pennies

Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm ,mmm...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just about now...

50 years ago, I was just new.
31 years ago, I fell, unknowingly, for the love of my life.
19 years ago, I was counting down to a due date*.
Six years ago, I started this blog**.
A year ago, I came clean.
Six months ago, we lost Blackjack.
Two weeks ago, we made room for Juneau and all the lovely chaos.

Long, long ago, whenever my mother felt overwhelmed by big events and life's dramatic twists and upheavals, she would go to the stove and begin stirring chocolate and sugar and butter together in a pot.  She would stir and stir and then there would be fudge. Creamy, just a teeny, tiny bit grainy, tender, and cocoa-sugar-salty. Magical.

Until recently, it was elusive, this salve for the extraordinary emotional milestone.

Just a few days ago...
Just in time...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge | Cheesy Pennies

...there was fudge***.

You should have some. Just about now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top 'O The Morning

How to tell if your symbol of luck isn't real.  Image and info from this website.

Clover, schmover.
If you're really lucky, you'll find a pot of these golden biscuits at the end of your breakfast table.

Honey Glazed Biscuits | Cheesy Pennies

They are genuinely ridiculous.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

When bakers and geeks collide

...things get ePIc pretty darn quick.

It's 3.14.15 today.

Image from Wolfram*

The Pi Day of the century.**

There are, of course, T-shirts. You can geek out with the limited edition three-pack "Pi Day" collection from Scientific American, or with one of these Pi-themed goodies on Etsy.

Or you can just forget the math and eat some pie.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie | Cheesy Pennies

Best in Show Apple Pie | Cheesy Pennies

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Hand Pies | Cheesy Pennies

Mexican Chocolate Chess Pie | Cheesy Pennies

Fresh Fruit Pie with Mascarpone Cheese | Cheesy Pennies

Lemon Chess Pie | Cheesy Pennies

Totally fine to take a short cut and hit up a local bakery too. The Foodie Girls love the Mexican Chocolate and Maple Custard Pie at The Pie Hole, and I'm a massive fan*** of the Cherry Pie at Sweet Lady Jane here in LA. Don't forget, pizza counts as pie, too.  Try The Luggage Room in Pasadena or Olive Wood Pizza at the Studio City Farmers Market.

Sweet Lady Jane Cherry Pie

Bonus! Unless your clock runs on military time, or you live outside the US****, on this very special Pi day, you get to celebrate twice.*****

* Did you know that everybody's birthday appears in the number Pi? Mine is at digit 70,113. Find your birthday in Pi here.
** Explained wonderfully here, with five more drool-worthy pie recipes, on the always tasty Shockingly Delicious blog.
*** Literally, I weigh a ton.
**** Pi Day never happens in countries that put the day first in their dates.  America rules.
***** At 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m. Not to mention that you can have mini celebrations at 1:59:26 a.m. and p.m. as well, like people do on non-monumental Pi days. While you're at it, have an extra slice for Albert Einstein.  It's his birthday today.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Expectation-Defying Evil King Body Part Cookies

Just the beginning of a recent rant in my newsfeed 

Dear college friend on Facebook who hates hamantaschen*:

You are wrong.


 Hamantaschen with Apricot Rosemary Filling | Cheesy Pennies
Tart Cherry Hamantaschen with Dark Chocolate | Cheesy Pennies

Friday, March 6, 2015

Credit where credit is due

I almost did it again this year.  I had the facebook post all typed up, humbly asking friends to click through and tell the world* that Cheesy Pennies is The Best.

Then I stopped.

When I started blogging, almost six years ago now, all I wanted was a place to keep track of what I cooked and the little incidents in my life that might otherwise slip by unremarked.  That said, as much as I wish I were immune from the craving for readers** and recognition, I'm not. Part of the deal when you put work out into the world is the hope that someone other than you is there to receive it. To love it, too.  

Mission accomplished, and more. 

Yes, I found a space to save recipes, but I also found a space for my voice.  There are posts here full of farce-worthy silliness, and some with simple ideas and quick notes on a weeknight meal.  I cook and serve food from my own website all the time, and have had an extremely low level of complaints from the beneficiaries. My mother lived and died and lives here still, and I'm so grateful for that. This keyboard has been covered with tears and flour and magazine clippings and cat hair while I type, edit, and shape the stories I want to tell.  The process is liberating and draining and addictive. I get to write and write and write, but only when I have something to say, and then hopefully I say just enough. It's huge when someone lets me know, "I made that," or simply, "I read your blog." 

I am absurdly proud of this work that is not my job. Cheesy Pennies is well loved and oft-used by friends, family and even people I've never met out there on the invisible Internet. It is personal and I love sharing it.  It is mine. It is good.

It is, often, the best of me.

But it is not The Best of Blogs.

That title should belong to one of these amazing sites:

Lady and Pups - Jaw-dropping photos, completely original recipes, and a wise-cracking, genuine and riotous writing style.  A recent post, Pan Grilled Marshmallow Toasts with Sea Salt had this quote: "Some say wonderful things are born out of desperation. Before today I’ve always thought they were talking about spandex."  A New Yorker transplanted to Beijing, her recipes often involve complicated, multi-step preparations, but she somehow makes you feel you can almost pull them off.  A finalist last year in the photography category.

Dash and Bella - The honest, devastatingly beautiful writing on this site makes me lose my breath almost every time.  In a few well chosen words you understand the loss of a grandmother, the swift passage of childhood, the need to scream into a pillow or guzzle wine or curl up a fist and stay quiet.  It's almost unfair that her recipes are ridiculously good, too.  How one couples getting a drug fix from a neighbor kid with a pecan cheese ball recipe, I'll never know, but she does it perfectly.  She has a book in the works and I am going to buy it the instant it comes out.

5 Second Rule - Reader's choice last year for Best Writing, and deservedly so.  There is just one photo per post (usually stunning on a dark background), so the words shine.  On my very very good days, my posts would be like these.  I loved a New Years piece where introduces her desk: "It's a cherry slab with a deep gouge. It weighs a ton. It dates back to my grad school days in Somerville, Massachusetts. Today, and every day, it's littered with papers, with news clippings, with stacks of fluorescent post-its. I neaten it often, but within seconds, it reverts to its natural state. One can only do so much."  The recipes are simple, lovely combinations of good ingredients that anyone can make.

Bev Cooks - One of the few breezy "we're all best girl friends here" type blogs that I truly find funny and entertaining on a regular basis.  This woman has a gift for natural, seemingly effortless comedy, and her food is both approachable and tasty, a winning combination.  Typical recipe intro:

I see your dinner and raise you CUBAN SLIDERS. Let me just start by saying two things. Three things. A few things: 
  • There will never be enough articulation in any universe to describe my immortal devotion to these sliders. 
  • Obviously I didn’t invent this recipe, but I did tweak a couple o’ thangs to Bevi-botch it. 
  • We were supposed to get snow last night and all it did was shoot a rainy snot rocket and call it a day. 
  • My coffee’s stronger than usual.

Glazed and Confused - There's been a run of young stars emerging in the food blogging world, including an English high-schooler with a global following and a brand new cookbook. But this one's actually a wunderkind, in my mind.  A 20 year old self-confessed One Direction maniac, this kid made himself a chicken & waffles birthday cake, and I kinda wanted to eat all of it. 'Nuff said.

I don't personally know the creators of these sites, but I feel like I do. They are opinionated and talented and generous with themselves online, which is what makes their work compelling and excellent.  They have legions of anonymous fans like me because they deserve them. There are other sites, too, that I recommend to you for the very same reasons.  Joy the Baker.  Displaced Housewife.  Movita Beaucoup.  Food for the Thoughtless.  All of the links on the sidebar there are well worth your time to click through and read.  Not to mention last year's blog of the year - it is simply sensational.

So no.  I'm not going to humbly ask you to nominate Cheesy Pennies this year.  I'm going to humbly thank you for reading instead***.

* Well, to tell the online editors at a certain food magazine that I don't even subscribe to that Cheesy Pennies is The Best.
**  They should just not include a "web stats" tab in the blogging software. Then my paltry traffic would be out of sight, out of mind.
*** Plus, I already won a bunch of other stuff, so I can be noble and realistic at the same time.