Just three days left here at our retreat cabin at Lake Thunderbird, where I have been working on organizing recipes for two new cookbooks. The first is Father Dom’s Favorites, which is rather like a “Greatest Hits” album of recipes from the three seasons of Breaking Bread with Father Dominic—those cookbooks very nearly out of print. The second is Breadhead Breakfasts and Sweet Treats, which will include recipes like coffeecakes and cinnamon rolls, but also some of my favorite cookie, brownie and candy recipes.
Both of these titles are tentative, and which recipes go where is still a bit fluid. Fab’s Nutty Goodness Rolls are clearly a breakfast bread, but they are also one of my top five favorites. Funnel Cakes are a sweet treat, but they are definitely a favorite with the Stage Rats. There is bound to be some doubling up, but not so much (I hope) as to dilute the value of either book.
I’ve also been baking like crazy while watching movies, since that’s my idea of a great vacation. When I told people I was coming to the cabin to work on books and bake, several of them said rather pointedly, “I hope you will find some time to relax, too.” These are clearly people who need to broaden their ideas about “fun.” Editing recipes doesn’t feel like work if you can do it while sitting on a shady deck with the wind blowing through the trees and a diet Dr. Pepper close at hand. I’ve also had the opportunity to shoot some interesting pictures of roadside flowers and of scenes at the local county fair (see slide show below). If it’s any consolation to those who fear for my mental and physical health, I didn’t bring an alarm clock.
The cabin here doesn’t have a full range of cable channels, but it does get all three channels of PBS out of WTVP in Peoria, including Create, which means I’ve also watched about four hours of cooking shows every day---pure bliss, even if it feels like I have to wash dishes about the same amount of time! And today I watched Julie and Julia while making croissant dough for cronuts.
Yes, I’ve jumped on the cronut bandwagon, although I don’t intend to ride it for long. My first batch didn’t poof very much because my cookie cutters were plastic and sealed the edges of the dough too much. But I ran home to get my professional donut cutter and an electric fryer---trying to keep oil at 365 degrees F. on an electric range is maddening. Besides, I also needed my pastry bag for the filling. The original cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC have a pastry cream filling. I’m going to try them with lemon curd filling and topped with powdered sugar, and some with a tiramisu filling and mocha frosting. More on that in the future blog. Right now my croissant dough needs another turn.