Arlettes – pin wheels of yum!

Arlette, mother of William the Conqueror or delicious cookie. While looking around the internet trying to find out exactly what I was about to bake I stumbled across a list of famous Arlettes but not a lot of cookies. The best I could find was that Arlettes are a variation on the Palmier, another puff pastry cookie. Palmiers are named after palm trees and pigs ears, not things I usually group together. Arlettes just seem to be their own thing, no plant or animal name sake. I did read that Arlettes are sometimes served with icecream, which brings me to my big revelation. The Arlette ice-cream sandwich!! Move over macaron, beat it dark chocolate-esk cookie, make room for the Arlette! I’m on to something here I know it!

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A Lesson In Tuiles

Before taking on this challenge of baking all the technicals my go to recipes to scratch the baking itch would mostly be muffins and cookies.  With a smattering of bread mixed in. Usually, it would be a Friday night (I party hard at my house) and I would feel like baking.  The next twenty minutes would consist of me scrolling through Pinterest for things like the ultimate best ever oatmeal cookies, followed by 20 minutes of mixing, scooping and baking.  Most of the recipes I chose would produce thick and chewy cookies that would cause some serious post cookie guilt if you ate more than one.

This whole undertaking has changed so many things about baking for me. I have a new appreciation for baking that isn’t heavy and indulgent but instead is light and delicate.   But the thing that has changed the most is that these recipes are so dainty that I ate about 12 tuiles last night and didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it!

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Chocolate marshmallow teacakes

Chocolate marshmallow teacakes, you mean Viva Puffs?  or Whippets?  Once again we venture into the world of translations between countries.   The UK named chocolate marshmallow tea cakes, a perfectly respectable all be it confusing name has turned into something strange and nonsensical over here.  Chocolate marshmallow – well that’s just accurate, tea cake – ok a bit confusing because it’s not really a cake but it sounds nice.  Now across the ocean, we took virtually the same thing and thought Viva Puff (when we get fancy and put a filling inside) or Whippet.  ‘Cause that makes sense.  Oh branding, and language, why must you be so bizarre.

While trying to figure out what I was about to bake I looked into the chocolate marshmallow treats and found a whole Wikipedia page devoted to the many variations.  It was actually really interesting (at least for a baking nerd like myself).  These little puffs caused some drama in the UK when a debate about their status as a cookie or a cake led to legal action.  I also learned that some areas of Quebec refer to these cookies as “Nun’s Farts”.  And with that piece of information, I reached the bottom of a chocolate marshmallow internet rabbit hole. I quickly closed the browser and got to work.

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Brandy flops

I have a theory that baking can be influenced by attitude.  It may sound like nonsense and it probably is, but anytime I have started baking or cooking in a bad mood things seem to go from bad to worse.  Exhibit A – the Cornish pasty, I was grumpy and you saw those soggy bottoms.  Exhibit B – a now infamous dinner my husband and I refer to as the hate nachos.  While making nachos we got into a big fight and we had to sullenly choke down some burnt chips for dinner.  Exhibit C – Brandy Snaps.

I don’t limit the phenomenon to mood alone.  I also credit multi-tasking and dish disrespect for my baking failures.  These Brandy Snaps were a perfect storm.  Let me set the scene, after work last Tuesday I was in peak hangry mode and thought a whole bbq chicken would be the perfect thing to make for dinner.  Why on earth would a meal that takes 90 minutes be a good idea?  It wasn’t.  So hungry and grumpy with 90 minutes to kill I started my Brandy Snaps.  Continue reading “Brandy flops”