Cookieposter, part II (and the nuts you must make for both giving and eating yourself...)

Yesterday I took a day off. I did not fold laundry or do a dish. I did not run my vacuum (this is rare, my friends...). I did not turn on the oven or even cook dinner, and I was gone for the bulk of the day. I started my day with the leftover half grapefruit and a Bob's muffin, and then attended a class at my library on Flower design. Then, Sasa and I ate at Comet and went to the Urban Rummage at the Historic Turner Ballroom (one of the most amazing buildings, and yet I didn't think to bring my camera - I found a picture here and a better one here).

The class was a demonstration and tutorial on the beginning basics of floral design given by Mikki of Moss Floral Design and Studio, in Bay View. I felt so inspired to live with more flowers in my house. In one of my favorite design books, The Shabby Chic Home by Rachel Ashwell, she lives with many dozens of flowers artfully arranged on a daily basis. While I liked this idea, I tend more to cultivate plant clippings and succulents than nurture cut flowers. Rachel Ashwell bought a 1920's home in Malibu, and had to decorate on a budget, hence the global empire of Shabby Chic. Her true design is fantastic, the line for Target, not so much. But her eye for the natural world Incorporated into her home world is wonderful. Check it out for more floral inspiration.

I'm hoping to take a few workshop classes at
Moss, and meanwhile am beginning to realize that I need to live about 10 lifetimes to get done what I'd like to. If there were some way to squeeze my working into my sleeping time, I would be quite happy. But too many days of 5 hours a night, and it's really not a pretty sight around here...

the filling.

So back to batch a day baking: Pecan Tarts. Pecan tarts are something that my Mom has made since I was first alive, I think. Usually, she makes them for Thanksgiving, but in recent years she makes another batch for Christmas due to popular demand. Until last year, I never made these! Why?! I have no idea, since they are easily one of my favorite things.

I love that this recipe came from the Pastor's wife, and that it was long enough ago that I only ever knew them as "The Pastor and Mrs. Thornton". Most Pastors now go by first names, so I always feel the antiquity of this recipe. I also love that it has no corn syrup in it. I think the recipe was first given to my parents from Mrs. Thornton, along with 2 tart pans, as a wedding gift. My Mom still makes this recipe from the hand written card in the same pans.

The recipe, as given to me in an email, from my parents:

Mrs. Thornton’s Pecan Tarts

For the tart crust:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 three oz. pkg cream cheese (I use light)
Mix thoroughly & make into 24 little balls. Chill. Press 1 ball in each little part of a tart pan, sides & bottom-with thumb.

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla – dash of salt
Place some pecans in each tart shell. Pour in filling.
Be careful not to fill too full as the filling swells as it bakes!
If you desire, you can sprinkle chopped pecans on top. I usually do not.

Bake at 350 degrees about 20 min or until nicely browned. Cool just a couple minutes before you loosten the edge with a sharp knife and pop them out of the pan. Cool completely before storing them in a secret place where little sticky fingers can’t get at them!

Make sure you follow that last part about hiding them, since once you eat one, you want more and so do all the others that you choose to share with. This is one recipe my Husband likes, and he does look for them after I've conveniently tucked them away into the freezer. This is also one of those recipes that I try to mentally figure just how much fat I'm actually consuming in one portion when I can't sleep. One stick of butter seems like a lot, but in 24 little tarts, that's really much less than a T. of butter per serving.

In other related, addicting food news, I had to make these Rosemary Maple Glazed Nuts from Food in Jars. I knew they were going to be addicting, Marisa said they would be addicting, but I had to put them in jars as soon as they cooled enough and hide them in the basement. I can just see myself going after them when I resume my laundress duties tomorrow. My Husband loved these too! What a good kitchen day for me! I have a feeling if you try them, you will also be addicted and well loved.

The other stealthy thing I did today was begin my Daring Baker Challenge. I know, I know, I'm starting way before my normal day before the challenge post. But this particular challenge is the kind that requires a little thinking through and a little pre-baking. I doubt my kitchen will stay as clean as last month's challenge.