by Heather Harris Brady

I’m posting these rolls now because they are a lovely thing to add to your Easter menu. Light yet oh-so-buttery these crescent rolls are basically what you get if you are not patient enough to chill the dough for croissants! I’m using Julia Child’s croissant dough recipe. You can make these tiny and cute by cutting smaller triangles. Start these about four hours before you want to serve them.

Crescent Rolls, Makes about six large or one dozen small rolls

One packet quick-rise dry-active yeast
3 T. warm water
1 t. sugar
1-3/4 c. flour
2 t. sugar
1½ t. salt
½ c. milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil)
1 stick chilled, unsalted butter

2 T. flour
1 egg, for egg wash

Combine the yeast, sugar and flour in a heavy-duty mixing bowl fitted with the dough hook.


Put it on stir and drizzle in the water. Then add the milk.


You can add a little more water if there is still dry flour in the bowl. Beat on medium for about eight minutes, as if you were making brioche dough.


Set the dough aside to raise until doubled in bulk. Combine the butter (cut in tablespoons) with the 2 T. flour and beat until light and fluffy, about four minutes. It should be about the same consistency as the dough.


Spoon it onto waxed paper and put it into an oval about 3 x 4″. Chill it while the dough is rising.


Turn the dough out on a floured board. Gently roll it out.


Put the butter in the center.


Fold the sides over.


Roll it out and then refold it as if you were folding a letter for an envelope.


Repeat three times. (You can chill it in between if you have time.)



Finally fold it so the sides meet in the middle. Then fold the bottom over the top. (Again, you can chill it here if you have time.)


Roll the dough out and cut it into triangles.


Stretch them out a bit. Starting with the wide side, roll them up. You can tuck a bit dough in the middle first if you want them nice and puffy in the center.


Let them rise until at least doubled, more if you have time.


Preheat the oven to 375. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the rolls.



Bake about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.


Serve them warm. These are best the day they’re made.

Two years ago: Lemon Curd
One year ago: Easter Macarons


by Heather Harris Brady

This is a quick snack cake I threw together while I was making dinner to use up some odd items I had laying around. It goes together in minutes and you can have warm cake for dessert! Since this recipe is meant to use up leftovers I’m giving you some potential substitutions below.

Butter Pecan Banana Cake, Makes on 8″ square cake

  • 5 T. softened butter
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (or 1 c. pumpkin/sweet potato)
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (or yogurt/sour cream)


  • 1 c. shelled raw pecans
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 3 T. heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 8″ square cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together, then cream in the eggs, bananas and vanilla.


Beat in the flour, buttermilk, and baking powder.


You should have a thick, creamy batter.


Spread it in the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center springs back lightly at the touch.


While the cake is baking make the topping.

Combine the butter and nuts in a saucepan over medium heat.


Saute for about five minutes, until the nuts and butter are starting to brown. Then add the sugar.


Cook until the brown sugar starts to smell like caramel, about five minutes. Keep stirring! Then add the cream all at once.


Cook for another two minutes and take it off the heat. Stir in the vanilla and let it cool. It will start to thicken up.


Spread the topping over the warm cake.


Sprinkle with some coarse salt if you like. Serve warm.


Cover lightly with plastic and store any leftovers at room temperature.

Two years ago: Pavlovas
One year ago: Charred Asparagus


by Heather Harris Brady

Although most of our snow is melted spring is taking its own sweet time getting here. I thought I’d encourage it along with these bright cookies from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. They are the soft cakey old-fashioned kind. I added an easy lemon glaze to pump up the lemon flavor. These would make pretty Easter cookies if you coaxed them into an egg shape.

Soft Lemon Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies.

  • One stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • One whole egg
  • Two egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder

Lemon glaze:

  • 1 T. softened butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3-4 T. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together well. Then beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.



Add the rest of the ingredients and cream well for two minutes.


Drop by tablespoons onto a well-greased cookie sheet.


Bake for about 12 minutes, until there is a pale golden edge around the bottom.



Cool on the pan for a minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. They will be barely crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.


Stir the butter, sugar and 2 T. of lemon juice together for the glaze. Add more lemon juice to thin it if need be. Top each cooled cookie with a bit of glaze.


Store covered at room temperature between layers of waxed paper.


Two years ago: Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
One year ago: Oatcakes (Oatmeal Crackers)


by Heather Harris Brady

Since Saturday was PI day (3.14.15) and I live in a house with a bunch of math geeks/pie lovers pie there was no choice, pie had to manifest. The fresh fruit this time of year is somewhat expensive and questionable, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the tricks of making pie with frozen fruit. Quick pie. Pie when you do not have the time to defrost because dinner is imminent. Pie when you want to clean out the freezer to get ready for spring.

Here I used a cup of small wild blueberries, about three cups of Montmorency cherries and one cup of raspberries – all individually quick-frozen last summer. Because you can’t tell with frozen fruit how much juice the berries will give off, things get tricky. So you guess at the start and then cheat if you have to later on.

I started this pie off in the oven without its topping. About halfway through the baking I checked to see if my initial guess was correct. Here I could have added in some cornstarch or tapioca flour, but I didn’t need to as you will see.

Mixed Berry Pie (with frozen berries), Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 5 c. mixed berries of your choice, all individually quick-frozen
  • One unbaked deep dish pie shell (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 2 c. streusel (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 1-1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. small tapioca
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Mix the sugar, tapioca and berries together in a bowl. Let stand for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375.


Fill the pie shell with the berries evenly.


After 25-30 minutes, take the pie out of the oven. The berries should be giving off their juices and while it should be a bit watery (because the tapioca is starting to do its job) the berries should not be completely submerged.


If you have too much juice at this point you can gently stir in some more cornstarch or tapioca flour mixed with cold water. Then proceed to cover the pie with the streusel.


Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, until the streusel is nicely brown.



The pie will thicken as it cools. I left it to cool at room temperature. Here it is six hours later.


Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.


Two years ago: Cream Scones
One year ago: Key Lime Pie


by Heather Harris Brady

This is a quick, easy and different dessert for the upcoming holiday. I’ve replaced the usual soft biscuit topping with a thinnish layer of Irish soda bread. If you have buttermilk and apples you can start this after work and have a warm dessert for dinner. I’ve skipped some of the sauteed apple steps, since I’ve posted them before.

Irish Apple Cobbler, Makes one 9″ pan (about 8-10 generous servings)

For the apples:

  • 5-6 well-flavored baking apples, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2 t. cinnamon

For the cobbler topping:

  • 4 T. cool butter
  • 3 T. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. buttermilk

First do the apples: Put the butter in a skillet over medium. When it’s melted, add the apples and stir them around for a minute or two. Then add the brown sugar and simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the cinnamon. Then turn the hot apples out into a lightly greased 9″ deep dish pie pan. Set them aside.


Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the flour, sugar and baking soda in a bowl.


Cut in the butter, then quickly stir in the buttermilk. You should have a shaggy batter.


Spoon it over the apples.


Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch.


To serve turn large spoonfuls of the cobbler upside down in a bowl.


Serve warm with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream (and/or a good drizzle of Bailey’s).


Store leftovers covered at room temperature.

Two years ago: Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
One year ago: Cheddar Ale Sauce


by Heather Harris Brady

These cookies look pretty homey but fresh out of the  oven they are freakin’ (that’s right, I said freakin’) amazing. They are thick, soft on the inside and crackly on the outside plus they’re super chocolately. I’ve posted my own recipe for this type of cookie before, but when I saw this recipe in Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies I had to try it because it included hot coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but if coffee and chocolate are together in the right amounts magic happens. Like here.

Chocolate Chip-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, Makes about 50

1 c. (8 oz.) butter, room temperature
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. dark cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 t. instant coffee
1/4 c. hot water
1-1/4 c. flour
1 c. mini chocolate chips
3 c. quick-cooking oatmeal

Heat the oven to 350. Cream the butter with the sugar for two minutes.


Add the egg and vanilla, beat another minute. Dissolve the coffee in the water and stir in the cocoa powder.



Beat that into the butter along with the salt and baking soda.


Add the flour, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and oatmeal.


Drop spoons of dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake 14-16 minutes.


Let them stand a minute or two to cool slightly before transferring to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.



Two years ago: Irish Hostess Cupcakes
One year ago: Dulce de Leche Banana Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you probably know I’m a Wes Anderson fangirl, and after he featured pastries (in pink boxes no less!) in The Grand Budapest Hotel, well, he’s got a place in my heart forever. (And he also put out a how-to video on them – what more can a girl ask?) Because I’m into such things, I delved in the background behind these pretty pastries. They are based on courtesans au chocolat, which are known as religeuse if they have coffee icing. So in this episode we’re reviewing both! The religeuse is pictured above, and its movie counterpart is below. After a comprehensive taste test we all agree we actually like the ones with the coffee icing better, even though the movie ones are prettier.


These pastries share a common shell and filling, they just go together a little differently. To keep this post on the shorter side, and because I’ve covered this items before, I’m skipping some of the step-by-step. If you want to review it just visit the original links below. If you make the filling and icing ahead of time these go together quite quickly.

Necessary Elements – Religeuse

  • Choux paste
  • Chocolate pastry cream (recipe following)
  • Coffee icing (recipe following)

Necessary Elements – Mendl’s Pastry

  • Choux paste
  • Chocolate pastry cream (recipe following)
  • Melting chocolate (pink, green, white)
  • Royal icing (white, blue)

Chocolate Pastry Cream, Makes about two cups

  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 3 T. dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • Two eggs
  • 2 oz. 72% chocolate
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. butter

Put the milk in a saucepan over medium heat (you can also use a double-boiler if you want to play it safe).


Combine all the dry ingredients well and whisk them in.


Continue whisking until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about four  minutes.


Beat the eggs in a bowl (I just use the one from the dry ingredients) and add a large dollop of the hot cream. Stir well and return it to the pan.


Whisk well and cook for another minute. Then add the chocolate and whisk it in as it melts.


Remove the cream from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the top and chill thoroughly while you make the rest.


Coffee Icing, Makes about 3/4 of a cup

  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 t. instant coffee
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. butter, softened

Add the coffee to the cream and heat it in the microwave until the coffee dissolves. Stir well and let it cool


Stir the butter and the powdered sugar into the coffee cream. Adjust the consistency to your liking and set it aside.


 Baking & Assembly

Follow all the directions in my choux paste recipe. If you’re making the movie pastries you need three different sizes, for the religeuse only two.


All baked and lined up for filling – here I have enough for four movie pastries and four religeuse. Trim off any pointy spots that will cause you problems when you go to stack them.


Mendl’s Pastries

To assemble the movie pastries, take a small, medium and large puff. Fill each with the chocolate pastry cream. Warm your melting chocolates. The large one gets a dollop of white chocolate on top, the middle gets green and the top gets pink. The chocolate hardens up quite fast as you stack.

Decorate them with the royal icing if desired.



Same drill but here you’re only stacking two layers. Fill a large and medium puff with chocolate pastry cream and top them with a dollop of coffee icing. I added a few mini chips to the top but a chocolate covered coffee bean would be nice too.


Repeat until you’ve filled and assembled all your pastries.


Keep the pastries chilled at all times. These are best eaten the day they’re made. If you make the whole recipe of puffs you can freeze those unfilled for later.


Two years ago: Chocolate Pudding
One year ago: Enchiladas


by Heather Harris Brady

Suffice to say, I am not a bran-muffin kind of gal. I am much more of a chocolate croissant kind of gal. However, even I like these so if you’re looking ahead to spring and starting to think lean these are a really good choice for desk snacks and the like. I used Jane Brody’s basic recipe from her Good Food Book and doctored it up with some banana, cinnamon and some chocolate chips as a reward for being so healthy ;)

This is a big batch and they freeze well, but you can always cut the recipe in half if you like.

Bran Muffins, Makes 24

  • 3 c. bran cereal (I used Fiber One.)
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. raisins
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-3/4 c. milk with 1 T. vinegar added OR 2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • One very ripe banana
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 2-1/4 c. unbleached flour + 1/2 c. wheat germ OR 2-1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 mini chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the raisins, olive oil and cereal. Stir in the boiling water and let it sit for 15 minutes.


Mash the banana well with a fork and whisk in the eggs, milk and brown sugar.


Pour in the rest of the dry ingredients and the bran mixture.


Stir well and set the batter aside for an hour.


Preheat the oven to 375 and fill 24 muffin cups about 3/4 full with batter.


Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center of the muffins spring back to the touch.


Cool the muffins on racks and store them wrapped. They are nice and moist with lots of flavors that play well together.



Two years ago: Spicy Greens
One year ago: Austrian Carnival Doughnuts


by Heather Harris Brady

As I’ve teased in previous posts, I’m a new member of Daring Bakers. Each month a member creates a challenge for everyone else, and we all make the same thing – more or less! My first challenge was for filled buns. Challenge accepted.

The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.  For the recipe visit the Daring Bakers website.

Here’s my step by step – I made a few changes to the process based on my experience, but not the ingredients.



I stirred in two cups of the flour, let it hydrate for a few minutes, then stirred in the other two cups.


This gave me a soft dough that seemed quite manageable.


While the dough was rising I made the fillings – a satay style, a Korean BBQ and one surprise you’ll see at the end! But first I browned a pound of ground turkey.


I set half of it aside. To the half still in the pan I added 1/2 c. diced onion, 1/2 c. diced carrots, 1 T. garlic and 1 T. ground ginger.


I let it cook together until the carrots were just tender. Then I added 1/3 c. peanut butter (natural, creamy), 3 T. fish sauce, and 2 T. soy sauce.


Simmer for another five minutes.


While the satay cooked I stirred 1/2 c. Korean BBQ sauce into the turkey I set aside.


Since I’ve covered bun-making thoroughly in the past few weeks I’ll skip the details from here.



At this point I preheated the oven, when the buns were nearly double.


I brushed them with an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T. water).



I baked them for about 20 minutes, they came out a pretty golden brown.


The egg wash made the tops nicely crunchy, and pretty.


Voila – my first challenge completed!


Then, because my kids were starving and I know you can get such an item at a Chinese bakery – I used the rest of the dough to wrap turkey hot dogs.




Two years ago: Baked Custard
One year ago: Chocolate Strawberry Birthday Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

Fancy party cakes are some of the most fun you can have as a baker. This box cake is very versatile for lots of occasions – you could fill it with baby shoes, flowers, candies, more cookies, golf balls, whatever. However, if it’s a cake for a fashion-loving tween whose birthday happens to be on the day of the Oscars, well then you get gold-chocolate high heels.


Now I know I could have used fondant, but I used to do wedding cakes and I learned something about myself, namely: I hate watching people skin their slices of cake before they eat it. Plus, it’s kind of expensive. If I’m doling out $15 for a pound of something that something had better be chocolate. So this cake is entirely edible and entirely delicious, except for the optional ribbon and the waxed paper.

If you’re interested in making the high heels, you need a chocolate mold like this one. It was a super-busy weekend and I made this cake in just over two hours. If I had more time I would have made a nice cakeboard, but sometimes you have to go with what you’ve got and make the best of it. Just pretend the cookie sheet in the pictures below is actually a white cakeboard.

Shoebox Celebration Cake, About 16 servings

  • One 13 x 9 cake layer of your choice
  • Two batches of chocolate ganache
  • Two packages of sugar wafer cookies (there should be 30+ cookies in each package)
  • Cake board (white foamcore or sturdy cardboard)
  • Something to fill the box,  your choice
  • Optional: White royal icing for details

Cut the cake layer in half so you have two 6.5″ x 9″ sections. Place one in the middle of your cakeboard, then lay out your box, reserving extra cookies in case of breakage. The sides should take 27 cookies, with another 20 for the box top – as you will see below. Set all the cookies aside.


Stack and ice the layers with about 2/3 of the ganache, then add a ring of cookies around the bottom. Press them in so they will harden to the ganache but keep them square.


Build your box on top of the bottom ring, pressing the cookies in as you go. I noticed too late that the cookies have different patterns on each side, so you can alternate cookie sides too if you want.


Now add a second ring of cookies to the bottom for the box top.


Put the rest of the ganache in a pastry bag and cover the box top.


Now the fun part! Fill the box. I added some torn sheets of wax paper for the tissue and put the chocolate shoes in.


Then I painted the shoes with gold luster dust and added some royal icing trim to the box top, as well as the top edge of the box.


I cut the corners off a graham cracker to make a Happy Birthday price tag with the rest of the royal icing. I added a grosgrain ribbon bow around the box for decoration, but the ganache hardens quickly and the box easily stood by itself. However, if it’s warm or you’re transporting the cake, the ribbon is extra insurance.


This is how it looks from the top.


A close-up of the shoes, dark chocolate brushed with gold dust.


To serve you can use the wafers as a cutting guideline. I cut down the middle the long way first, and I cut each half into slices.




Two years ago: Buttermilk Biscuits
One year ago: Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan, lactose free)

Follow Little House by the Dunes on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Now We’re Cookin’

My kitchen Pinterest page
April 2015
« Mar    

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 252 other followers

%d bloggers like this: