“That’s right. I’m the social do-gooder yer mama warned you about!”
A couple weeks ago, with my 41st birthday quickly approaching, I began considering how to mark the day I was born. Birthdays bring to mind memories of pool parties with neighborhood friends, the cacophony of Chuck E. Cheese’s, getting your driver’s license when you turned 16 (for those of us who grew up in Michigan), slamming shots on your 21st culminating in your swearing you’d never drink again (ummm…no mum, I didn’t do this), and the years following when celebrations became smaller and more intimate yet more meaningful.
I’m not much for being the center of attention and with such a high percentage of my social circle spread out across the country a traditional celebratory gathering wasn’t in the cards. I found myself reflecting on my 30th birthday. My husband had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away just weeks prior and my co-workers didn’t want me to be alone so they took me out to dinner after the shop closed that evening. While at dinner, calls and texts poured in from family and friends across the country. It had secretly been planned that everyone would participate in my birthday celebration remotely. It was a wonderful night and a birthday I will always remember for the love sent over the airwaves. So in that same vein, while speaking with my dear friend, Jerome, I came up with “The Peanut Butter Cookie Project” which would allow me to celebrate with friends and family no matter their location while helping an all-volunteer, non-profit, no-kill rescue organization that was near and dear to my heart — Curly Tail Pug Rescue.
WHO COULD PARTICIPATE?Anyone who was my personal Facebook friend. Yes, sometimes it’s beneficial to be friends with a baker who owns a company 🙂
WHAT WAS REQUIRED?
* Donate a minimum of $20 to Curly Tail Pug Rescue. (Many of my friends donated more because, well, they’re awesome!)
* When participants received their cookie, they took a digital picture of themselves, their family, etc., enjoying their treat in honor of my birthday and posted it on my Facebook page with the hashtag #ThePeanutButterCookieProject.
ABOUT THE COOKIE:The Alecia Bakery NYC Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie weighs in at a WHOPPING 7 oz. MINIMUM! This is the total weight of an ENTIRE box of Girl Scout Do-Si-Dos, which is the inspiration for this treat! This monster of a cookie consists of two nearly 5″ Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies sandwiched together with deliciously creamy Peanut Butter Buttercream. Of course, we couldn’t let it go there. We had to add something extra to gild the lily — a swirl of house made caramel! Salted Caramel adds a touch of sweetness while Habanero Caramel adds heat and sweet! And since these mammoth treats are too big for any of our pre-made bags, we hand cut cellophane and hand wrap each one.
Five steps to peanut butter sandwich cookie heaven…
The following unsolicited comment about me and my company have my heart bursting at the seams with joy and pride this morning. THIS is what I hope everyone sees through the butter and sugar:
“Anyone who likes sweets who isn’t trying my friend Lin’s prodigious menu is missing out on something special. Besides baking delicious, artisan cakes, cookies and other delicious stuff, she’s one of the most diligent, hardworking and downright decent people I’ve ever met. She puts a huge amount of care into every aspect of her product AND puts her money where her mouth is with regard to donating a portion of her earnings to pug rescue. Talented, independent artists and small business owners should be lauded and supported in this day and age, and Lin is one of them. I’m proud to count her among my small circle of friends.”
Much love to all of our family, friends and fans, who make our (sometimes round-the-clock) baking marathons worth so much more than words can express. YOU put the smiles on our faces! THANK YOU!
Well, if that isn’t the biggest load of hooey I’ve ever heard! Like so many other times in life, pies are seemingly simple but incredibly easy to screw up. From the crust to the fillings, pies tend to have only a few ingredients which makes them deceivingly difficult.
Most of us have had at least one slice of fruit pie in our lives. I grew up believing Mrs. Smith’s cherry pie was the end-all-be-all of pies thanks to my mum. That was, of course, until I learned otherwise. And as with all things, particularly food, everyone has their own idea of what makes a “good” pie. There are three things I look for in a fruit pie with a traditional rolled crust:
1. Flaky, crisp crust
2. Filling that retains the fruit’s texture
3. Fully filled pie
Many folks are in either the “crust” or the “filling” camps, but rarely both. I am one of those rare folks that while I can appreciate each aspect individually, I believe it takes both to work harmoneously to achieve pie greatness.
Do not be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients of a rolled pie crust. While quality ingredients are always important, particularly when few ingredients are used, it is the handling of the dough that will either produce a leaden shell or those perfect flaky layers.
I have a similar simple outlook on fruit fillings. I prefer thicker slices and whole berries as I look for that natural texture when I take my first bite. That being said, use the absolute best fruit available, just enough sugar and spices to enhance and accentuate the natural flavors and do not, I mean DO NOT skimp on the filling! The fruit will soften and settle during baking and what may appear to be a grotesque mound of raw fruit before baking, will become the most delicious fully filled pie 60 minutes or so later.
Having set the bar high, I decided it was time for me to perfect my pie making skills. Okay, okay, it was that and my deep desire to combine my favorite autumn fruits before they disappeared from the local market. And so I give you a pictorial: “Anatomy of a Pie.”