Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: The Best Cobbler In the World

A few summers ago, probably more than a few, I made my first peach cobbler. I used a recipe I found in one of my favorite and trusted cookbooks. I went by the book, as I do every time I try a recipe for the first time. It turned out well, and was easier than I thought.

A while later, perhaps the next summer, someone had left some sugar cookie dough in the fridge at our cottage. My mother didn't know what to do with it, as she knew that no one who was there at the time would want to eat the cookies from a store bought dough (some of my fam are kind of baking snobs since I like to bake from scratch a lot). I thought a minute, and then came up with something kind of fun. I used it as a topping for a peach cobbler. (By now I was happy to adjust and tweak the recipe to my liking.) It was a hit! Even those who snub the store bought dough liked it!

So, I got to thinking...what other types of toppings could I use on a cobbler? And what else could I put in with peaches? At one point, I saw a recipe for blueberry/peach cobbler, and at some other point (they all have smooshed in my head at this time) I decided to use a recipe I received from my husband's grandmother for molasses cookies as a topping, and combined them into the most wonderful cobbler recipe in the world! I have been making it ever since, every time the peaches and blueberries are looking ever so beautiful in the markets!

Because I made this recipe up, I had to come up with approximate measurements for an actual recipe. Before that, I didn't really measure anything except for by sight. So, if anything sounds like it could use a little more, or a little less for your own liking, feel free to tweak it to your pleasure.

Here we go!

First I make the molasses cookie dough. You can use your favorite recipe here if you have one. This is mine from "Grandma B" (of course, I tweaked it a bit).

1 1/2 cups melted butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs

Sift together:
4 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Add sugar, molasses and eggs to melted butter, mix well. Add sifted ingredients to wet mixture, blending well. Chill for 1 hour (can be overnight as well).

These are perfectly delish on their own, and I use any extra dough I have to make cookies! Roll into 1" balls and roll in sugar. Bake @350 degrees for 10 mins. These never last past the day I make them!

Now onward to the cobbler!

I make this when the peaches and blueberries look like this! I can't resist! They are gorgeous! That's when I know it's time...
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice 8 to 10 peaches (the ones in the picture were huge, so I used 8 of them). Wash up 2 pints of those little blue beauties, and put them in a large bowl with the peaches.

Add the following into the fruit:

1/4 cup molasses
1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark, whatever you like)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp maple syrup
(I use both honey and syrup if they are on hand, otherwise use whichever one you have, and make it about 4-6 tbsp total.)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp flour (for thickening)

Butter the pans. Mix the fruit until all the ingredients are blended together. You'll know when the juices start to flow, as the sugar mixes into the fruit.
Pour the fruit into a 9" * 11" and about a 9" square pans. (So, yes, I make two pans for our large lake family.)

Next take the cookie dough from the fridge, and roll 2" balls. Flatten them into little patty shapes, and dip into sugar. Place each dough round on top of fruit, slightly overlapping each one on another.

Once covered completely with the dough, place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye out for bubbly juices, that's when it's done. It may drip in your oven, this is good for the dish, meaning it's deliciously juicy, but you can place a tray or pan on a level under your dishes if this bothers you.

You can serve this dish warm or cold, but everyone in my family seems to prefer it warmed with ice cream and or whipped cream.

It's such a pretty dish, makes the whole house smell like a piece of heaven, and it's not going to break your calorie count, as it's mostly fruit, with a little cookie! (Of course, that's not counting what you might want to put on top of it!)
Every time I make this, I get compliments galore! I hope you do too! Of course, if this is too much for you, feel free to cut the recipe right in half, and enjoy it for a smaller gathering! We just never have that problem in the summer time!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Family Time

Yesterday was spent at the lake. Like so may other days in summer.
We met up with my whole, nuclear family to celebrate two next generation birthdays.
The next generation. They are here, and they are awesome.

I mean awesome in the true meaning of the word. They evoke awe in me and my generation.
Life is an amazing thing. When you can watch it happen, from the beginning, it is a privilege. So many changes, so much chaos. All as time goes consistently by.
Two births celebrated. One on her fifteenth year, the other on her third. A span of twelve years, but celebrating together. Watching my two nieces, my two Godchildren celebrate their lives was awesome.

I am appreciative of celebrations at the lake in the summer. We cram dozens of family into that tiny kitchen to sing happy birthday, and it’s always amazing to me. It’s a magic home of love and life.

There, you can see so much. There are all the stages of growing up, growing old, and many memories of those who have gone. They always come to join us for the celebrations. They are with us in words, stories, jokes, even poking fun at them in a happy, beautiful, funny way, bringing them to life at our parties.
I look at the children around the large, wooden table, whose faces are barely above the table’s horizon.

I smile.
That used to be me. Peering over to see the birthday guest blow out their candles. Having a grown up snap a candid shot. Feeling a little embarrassed by the moment.
I see the same feelings through my lens, but experience now the new feelings of the grown up who snapped the candid shot.

Awesome. Truly full of awe to live such a moment.
This week we will also celebrate my mother’s birthday. So many great people born this month! It will be another great day of celebration. Another great day of life.
It has become a popular phenomenon to write out a beautiful moment in your life here in the world wide web, and hash tag it, “blessed”. It is a wonderful thing that so many people out there are appreciating the little things in their lives. Of course, it gets abused, misused and overused. That’s the nature of us, after all. I still appreciate seeing people being thankful for what they have.
Happy even.
It’s those little things in our age of technology, plastics, fast services, instant gratifications, that make it come together in a way that no technology can do.
It is life.

Consistent, but changing.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Coming Out of the Low

It’s the light at the end of the tunnel
The sun creaking over the horizon
Climbing out of the deep, dark hole.
Waking up.

I snap myself out of the long, low I've been in for the last several days.
Ideas run wild in my head.
There is the catching up on household chores.
More ideas.
I want to do things.
I like to do things.
I will do things!

I wish I could feel this way all the time.
Accomplishing on a regular basis.
Feel good every day.
Hormones have other plans for me.
They like to pull me up and drop me down.
I am at their will.
I do their bidding.
They silently rule the universe.

I wonder if they get a kick out of it?
Do they know at all, the power they possess?
Do they enjoy the toying with my body and mind?

I hope they at least appreciate my obedience.
Smile with me
Cry with me
Join me.

For now, I am coming out of the low.
I am on my way back up.
On my way to my favorite time.
Which makes this a good feeling.
Knowing what is coming is good.
Out of the low.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Late Night Chats

Flop on the bed
Lights are dim
It’s late
The boys off to dreamland.

Late night talking with my daughter.
My one and only girl.
So much feeling!
So much love!
So much chatting!

And futures.


So much love!

These are the moments
The times
I will never forget.
Even if there comes a day
That I don’t remember.

That love will never leave me.