Dutch Baby Pancake

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Dutch Babies are puffy golden oven-baked pancakes that are often called German pancakes.  Once the batter is made, the pancake bakes itself in the oven and is served directly from the baking dish. Coming out of the oven it is just gorgeous so have your guests ready for the wow moment as it deflates quickly.  The Dutch name was coined by Manca’s Cafe in Seattle Washington in the first half of the 20th Century and is probably an misnomer for the autonym “Deutsch”.  Whatever it’s origin, it is an absolutely delicious breakfast which lends itself to personalization.  I made mine with lemon and orange zest as I was serving it with fresh berries.  This was my first time making a Dutch baby and it was so easy and much less messy than conventional pancakes.  Happy New Year!

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Cheesy Broccoli-Bacon Soup

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There is a wonderful tea room, A Taste of Britain, near where I live and it is a favorite lunch spot with friends.  Although they make wonderful scones, tea sandwiches and offer a lovely selection of loose leaf teas, their soups and salads are outstanding and what I usually order.  Recently I enjoyed a delicious broccoli-bacon-gruyère soup that was out of this world!  Thick and creamy with a hint of smokiness from the bacon, it was memorable.  I tried to recreate it here.  My version has no cream with the thickness coming from giving the soup a whirl in the blender.  Use a good melting cheese such as gruyère or aged cheddar.  Finish the soup with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and grated cheese.  Soup’s on!

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Fudgy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Break out the stand mixer!  “Tis the season for baking cookies. This year I’m adding these chocolate crinkle cookies to the family favorites.  The recipe was very easy and with only 10 minutes in the oven, super quick.   The cookies are not only pretty, they are ooey-gooey-fudgy good and sure to please the chocolate lover.  The dough needs to be refrigerated at least 3 hours so plan accordingly.  I chilled mine overnight.  The pretty crinkle sugar pattern is created when the dough expands during baking and the sugar dusting splits apart.  Happy holiday baking!

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Longwood Gardens Christmas 2017

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No holiday is complete without a visit to see the seasonal display extravaganza at Longwood Gardens in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania.  The crown jewel of the gardens is the conservatory.  This year’s theme is “C’est magnifique!” and the décor is done in a French style reminiscent of Versailles.  The floating display is designed like a French parterre garden with thousands of floating Granny Smith apples, cranberries and walnuts arranged in a deconstructed fleur de lys design.  A Christmas table is set as if in a palace with its adjacent winter wonderland outdoor terrace garden. At every turn, there are surprises that delight every sense.  Trees are decorated with fleur de lys, giant castle keys and mirrored sun ornaments, a nod to Louis XIV, Le roi soleil, who was known for his vanity.  Towering Christmas trees made out of succulents are spectacular creations.  Another tree constructed of 400 fragrant orchids takes the breath away.  Giant pointsettia topiaries are nothing short of stunning as are the towering pointsettia trees. It was difficult to edit my photos for this post, it was all so magical.   Join me for A Longwood Christmas! The enchantment continues to January 7th.  Check the website for details. Continue reading