Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

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Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding: How Good Intentions Go Awry

Sweet And Crumby

The road to he!! is paved with good intentions. That’s what my grandmother used to tell me now and then. Perhaps it was a hint. Basically, it means that individuals may do bad things even though they intend the results to be good.  I look back and think, maybe I was a little bit of a wild card then. I sure hope so. I really haven’t sowed any wild oats in the last 30 years or so—unless you count this Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding.

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Snowed In, Rained In Mushroom Soup

Is it just too dang cold to go outside wherever you are?  Me too.

I won’t tell you where I am because then you would know that I am a big baby. I’ve seen the news; I know that many of you have been snowed in something terrible. It’s been horrible out there in so many places, and I think the best thing you could do for yourself at this point is make soup. Continue reading


Orange and Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF Version)

Hi All,

I have thrown my Santa Hat into the ring and have entered the LA Times Cookies Bake Off! My original recipe, Orange and Rosemary Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies need your votes so please go to the LA Times Contest and vote for them. Let me know in the comments section here that you’ve voted, and I’ll choose one RANDOM voter to ship my cookies to on December 4 after the voting has ended. I will faithfully put all voters into the said Santa Hat and draw a name. I’ll contact you via email to get your shipping address. Happy Baking to All and to All a Good Week! 🙂 —-Geni


Gluten-Free Orange and Rosemary Infused Chocolate Chip Cookies

This a Sweet and Crumby original recipe.
Makes about 24 cookies.
2 c. Gluten-Free flour blend (mine is in my GF tab)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. xanthan or guar gum if it is not already included in your GF flour blend
3/4 t. salt
3/4 c. or 1 and 1/2 sticks of just barely softened butter
1  cup of granulated sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. orange extract
1 T.  orange zest, grated
1 T. rosemary, finely chopped
1 c. dark chocolate chips

To make the cookies: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, xanthan or guar gum and salt.  In a separate bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment,  beat on medium speed and cream together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, orange extract and rosemary.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat on medium speed.  Add  chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Drop onto prepared pan using a small ice cream scoop, separating them by two inches.  Spray a little nonstick coating on your hand and lightly press down on each ball of dough.

Bake sheets one at a time for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden but centers are still soft.  Let cool 10 minutes if you can wait that long! Enjoy!

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Jealousy and a Fully Booked Tomato Tart


My heirloom tomato tart and I have sort of a love hate relationship going on.  It is delicious, ridiculously simple to make and looks like a million bucks…see?

closeup tomato tartIt is a truly dependable and spectacular tasting tart so why the animosity you may wonder.  Well…I am getting very suspicious  that the invitations I am receiving to various dinners and parties are actually an invitation for that little tart of a tart you see there.

When someone invites me over for dinner or any social occasion, usually, the first thing that pops out of my mouth is, “What can I bring?”  It’s the way I was brought up, and if you must know the truth, I am a bit of a show-off when it comes to my food.  I like to put on that humble appearance of, “You do like that?!  Thank you!  I just threw it together.” When in reality, I am thinking, “JACKPOT…that was the perfect dish to bring here…Nailed it!!!”

heirloom tomatoes

In the good old days, I used to have to toil over what I should  bring.  Will it be a decadent chocolate cake or a savory dish?  But now-a-days, the inviter usually politely and slyly adds,” Would you mind bringing your fantastic tomato tart with you?”  See how that clever person first compliments me? She knows me well I’m thinking.  Flattery gets you EVERYWHERE around here! And just as she suspects, I answer, “Of course!”

pie crust.jpg

At first, I was the tart’s biggest fan.  I was introduced to it at a lovely cooking school in La Canada, CA called Chez Cherie.  Cherie, herself, the lively instructor and energetic entrepreneur, demonstrated it and then proceeded to let us taste it fresh out of the oven. As it baked, we were taunted by the heavenly aroma permeating her store.   It was love at first bite if you must know the truth.  The slightly sharp Gruyere, coupled with the bright and summery sweet tomatoes, all tucked into a flaky crust was almost too much.  I could have eaten the whole pie myself if I were there alone, but I wasn’t so we had to share.

pie crust with weights

Later that night, recipes in tow, I was thinking of how soon I could get myself to the nearest Trader Joe’s where Cherie had mentioned they had a lovely box of reasonably priced heirlooms awaiting me. My book club was coming over that weekend and I was dying to make this tart for them.   I went to my local Joes the very next day and to my dismay….yes dismay…I almost teared up…there were no heirlooms to be found.  I called around to three more Joes and finally found myself driving back to La Canada to their Trader Joe’s where indeed they were awaiting me.


Purple, orange, red and yellow…all beauties.  They were prettier than any box of gems or bunch of flowers if you ask me.  I raced home and made my tart.  It was everything I had dreamed of all night.

slice of tomato tart

Well it has been almost two years since I first came upon this tomato tart, and I have made it dozens of times by now.  Its dance card has been filled up, then started anew and then filled up again.  The tart, unlike me, always comes to the party dressed to the nines, in perfect form and gets compliments lavished upon it where ever it goes. Yes, the ugly green monster has taken over—I am jealous of my tart as it so appropriately is named.  I guess I am OK for now since it can’t leave the house without me as its chauffeur.  I hope you can reign in your tomato tart better than I have!

Heirloom Tomato Tart
Taken directly from Chez Cherie Cooking School in La Canada CA
Pie Dough for a 9″ tart , store bought or homemade works fine (click the link to my Lemon Meringue Pie which includes the plain and perfect pie crust recipe and how-to).
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 c. grated Gruyere cheese
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced (I used 5 small ones)
sprinkle of salt and pepper
2 t. dried herbes de provence(or equal parts dried oregano and thyme and a pinch of rosemary, basil and sage mixed together in a small bowl and then sprinkled over the tomatoes)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll the pie dough out large enough to fit the tart pan (or pie pan if that’s what you have), and line the pan with the dough.  Poke the dough all over the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork, gently please…don’t take out your aggressions on this lovely tart dough. Cover the dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place pie weights, raw beans or raw rice inside (to weight the pastry down).  Place the tart pan in the oven and bake 12 minutes.  Carefully remove the parchment and weights and return the tart pan to the oven for 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and spread the mustard over the cooked crust.  Scatter the grated cheese over the pastry, and arrange the tomato slices on top.  Season with salt, pepper and the herbs de provence or herb mixture and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until tomatoes are “relaxed” and tart smells fabulous.  Let cool for five minutes and then remove from the pan. Slice in wedges to serve. It’s totally irresistible warm.







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Love Me and Hate Me Tomato Jam and Cheddar Chive Biscuits


You WILL love me for this post. I guarantee it. But, will you also hate me? That I am not sure but I certainly hope not. The problem is that this tomato jam and these cheddar biscuits are glorious and once you make them, you may crave them every day for a very long time.

Tomato jam and biscuits

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Throes of Summer Salad Ideas

Hi All,

Long time, no hear from over here. I am aware. Life is crazy busy but really good. But as the temps are reaching almost 100 over here in the Los Angeles area, I was dreaming of some luscious summer salads that would cover dinner and make my oven and kitchen very happy (as well as the smiling eaters)! And to end dinner with something sweet, I have included my easy peasy Tiramisu. Enjoy!

80’s Retro Mandarin Orange Shrimp Salad 

Asian Inspired Shrimp Salad

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Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding: How Good Intentions Go Awry

The road to he!! is paved with good intentions. That’s what my grandmother used to tell me now and then. Perhaps it was a hint. Basically, it means that individuals may do bad things even though they intend the results to be good.  I look back and think, maybe I was a little bit of a wild card then. I sure hope so. I really haven’t sowed any wild oats in the last 30 years or so—unless you count this Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding.

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This luscious, slightly chewy, thick and creamy bread pudding is taken to the next level of goodness or badness…depending on how you look at it. It has Whiskey, and drunken raisins AND CHOCOLATE. It is even drenched in a rich, buttery whiskey sauce because more whiskey is always a good thing when it comes to Irish bread pudding. Right?

I blame the homemade Challah bread I had sitting on the counter getting stale. Why anyone would have leftovers of this delicious loaf of bread, I can not really explain.  I intended to be good. I scanned Cooking Light’s website for bread pudding since I wanted to make a lighter, more angelic version of this typically devilish dessert which is often loaded with numerous eggs and loads of cream. And it all started out rather innocently…afterall this recipe uses a scant two eggs, some 1%  and low-fat evaporated milk…and it received five solid stars from its reviews so we were certainly off to a promising start.

Drenching the raisins in Irish Whiskey.

But then I added a hefty dose of chocolate chips…and a wee bit more whiskey than it called for…


Then I just went for it and tossed aside the light sauce I originally intended to make, and  I made a richer but tried and true whiskey sauce; one that has a quarter cup of butter, a good dose of sugar, and yes, of course some whiskey. Finally, I served it with a dollop of whipped cream. I went to He!! in a handbasket I’d say and yes, I had very good intentions along the way.


But I have to admit that it was well worth it. This Irish Bread pudding was delectable, addicting and super EASY to make. My husband couldn’t stop going in for another spoon full and mentioned this bread pudding the rest of the night and he is NOT an easy sell.  We polished off the ENTIRE casserole dish in two days. Yikes!


This recipe will definitely make it into my, “Must Make For Company” list of desserts along with my othersemifamous bread puddings,  Pumpkin Bread Pudding and my Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding, both of which shouldn’t be missed.  Ah well, I guess it’s about time I sowed some wild oats. One can’t be boring all the time.

Whiskey Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce

Adapted from Cooking Light
1/4 cup light butter, melted
1 (12-ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick slices, or a 12 oz loaf of Challah bread, or in my case I used 3/4 of a large loaf of Challah bread and a couple of left over French rolls cut in 1-inch thick slices (any leftover bread will work here, even hamburger buns or bagels…you just want about 8 cups of bread cubes). The amount of bread in bread pudding is always about one large loaf, but it doesn’t matter if you have a little less or more, it’s very forgiving. See my Pumpkin Bread pudding recipe for ideas of using any old bread, rolls or buns you have that are lying around.
3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup Irish whiskey
1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated 2% milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. chocolate chips, I used dark
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Whiskey Sauce recipe and instructions below.

To make the Bread Pudding: Soak the raisins in a small bowl with the whiskey. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the bread into 1 inch thick slices. Spread each slice with the 1/4 c. of melted butter. Place them on a baking sheet, butter side up and bake for 10 minutes. Cut into 1 inch cubes.

Beat the milks, sugar, vanilla and eggs together in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Stir the bread cubes gently into the milk mixture. Stir in the raisins with the whiskey (don’t drain the whiskey out!) and chocolate chips into the bread cube and milk mixture. Always stir gently so you are not breaking up the soaking bread.

Spray a 9×13 glass dish or similar sized casserole dish (5 quart) with nonstick cooking spray. Gently pour the bread cube mixture into the dish.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. While the bread pudding is baking, make the Whiskey Sauce so it is ready and warm when your bread pudding is done. Serve the bread pudding warm with sauce spooned over the top and a bit of whipped cream.

Whiskey Sauce
Taken from Better Homes and Gardens
1/4 c. butter
1/2 d. granulated sugar
1 beaten egg yolk
2 T. water
2 T. whiskey/bourbon

To Make the whiskey sauce: In a small saucepan melt the butter.  Stir in the sugar, egg yolk, water and whiskey.  Cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat for 5 to 6 minutes or till sugar dissolves and mixture boils.  Remove from heat and serve warm over the bread pudding, topping with a dollop of whipped cream.