So do you ever get sort of obsessed with a certain website, enchanted by how it just ‘gets you’? And you find yourself wholly relating to every post and wanting to invent a device that would allow you to sort of live inside said website? Well, that’s me and Camille Styles’ lovely online digs. Love the content–the interviews, the recipes, the decor ideas, the whole lot. It may sometimes make me feel like I’m living in the slums because it’s so fabulous, but hey, that’s the risk you take falling in love with a website, I guess.
I’ve shared a few recipes with Camille’s audience in the past, and the other day I helped her kick off her sure-to-be-swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day content with a sweet idea for an edible gift. Bounce on over to Camille’s site for more photos and the recipe, a modern, Frenchy twist on the kitschy Valentine’s Day combo of chocolate-covered cherries.
Just bizarre enough of a word to require an exclamation point, wouldn’t you say? Like, Eureka! Or Xanadu! (Maybe I’m going solo on always having to say Xanadu nice and loud, but that is neither here nor there.) So what exactly is speculoos (or speculaas) about, anyway? If you’ve been following the food-related internets, you’ve probably seen store-bought versions of speculoos raved about often, whether it be in spread or biscuit form, and some might argue that it’s the best reason for flying certain commercial airlines.
But to me, speculoos have always been one of the most craveworthy cookies out there: buttery, crisp, and perfectly spiced (but not overpoweringly so) for the holidays with hits of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. And as it turns out, making your own is dead simple and even better than the factory-made kind. Plus, they sort of cry out to be decorated in a jaunty, Pinterest-y type way, and really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? (I kid.) (Sort of.)
Hi guys! So what have you been up to? Summer is in full swing now–are you sunning, doing some day drinking, searching for ways for your out-of-school children to not drive you bananas? I’ve just taken a mini-vacation of sorts around here, letting my writer’s brain turn off for a while. But I’ve not just been hanging around here watching DVR’d Barefoot Contessa episodes. First there was the business of getting cookbook number two to the printers (!!!). Then there was a bit of travel, a bit of life catch-up, Little C’s first ballet recital (so proud I literally exploded in a cloud of tulle and sequins). Also, puppy chasing and some much-needed reading of actual books with real paper pages in them. Grand!
Holy bananas, people, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow! How did this happen? I swear I’m totally one of those old people now that walks around proclaiming that it was just Christmas! and I don’t understand this iPhone! and what on Earth is a Nicki Minaj?!
Where’s my Sanka?
Anyway, it’s here–the holiday that’s not actually a holiday, but you’d really better observe it in some manner for the ones you love, lest you feel really guilty. I’m a fan of the little things on Valentine’s Day, myself. I like a little thing of flowers, chocolates, a nice card, sweet little tokens like that. Please don’t escort me to a heart-shaped hot tub with rose petals floating in it and Sade playing in the background, or give me a giant teddy bear holding a velvet heart that contains an ugly necklace that I have to wear all the time and pretend to like it. I may not physically drop kick you, but I will be doing just that, in my mind. Keep it sweet, keep it simple.
To me, edible gifts are the perfect kind for faux holidays like this one. And even though God has nothing to do with turning February 14th into an emotional carnival for so many people, I’m sure that the good Lord would insist that if you are going to participate in some Valentine’s Day gift giving, you best include chocolate. It’s the right thing to do.
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This is it, people. I’m getting down and dirty and a little bit crazy. Starting tomorrow, I’m going all Gwyneth Paltrow-level insanity and starting a 3-day juice cleanse. The fancy kind that some glossy, lithe delivery person brings to your house. I KNOW. But for now, there are these freaking great Chocolate-Slicked Toffee-Oat Tiles, which were kind of my last hurrah before embarking on a week of living like a deranged Hollywood starlet wannabe. My enthusiasm is palable, yes?
Oh, 2012. Here you are, all shiny and new and full of promise. Unlike the yoga pants I’ve been wearing nonstop since December 27th, which are dull and old and full of pills. But you know what, 2012? You’re encouraging me to move forward. Put on some pants that have an actual waistband, no matter how excruciating that might be. It’s a brand new year and I’m feeling terrific about the whole thing.
To celebrate, I thought I’d throw a little extra something into my favorite meringue cookie recipe, which tends to appear about this time every year, when rich, heavy desserts have become too much, but I’m not so crazy as to forgo sweets altogether. And to up the ante, I’m adding a bright punch of flavor with sweet, fragrant Meyer lemons, which are the kind of glorious thing that will make even the laziest folk rise from their post-holiday stupor.
With the holidays upon us, I’m sure we’re all looking for a ways to be a little more generous with our time, while figuring out how to be more efficient. I don’t think it gets much more generous or efficient than these Malted Brown Sugar Cookie Sandwiches. And by that I mean I’m giving you a totally legit way to eat two cookies at once. Hooray!
But these little beauties aren’t just about the cookie part. Although that part is quite spectacular, all chewy with crisp edges, salty-sweet, and a hit of malt…ooh, sweet babies of brown sugar, they are a delight all on their own. What really takes it all over the edge is a filling that I might say contained pure magic, if I hadn’t made it up myself and knew full well that I was plumb out of magic on that particular day. It’s a kind of creamy, dreamy, malty vanilla buttercream, the sort of thing with which you might be very, very prone to steal away, like, say, purposefully into a dark closet, spoon clutched in hand.
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