Dear Partner in Crime:
Cheers to this crazy year & cheers to further ‘slporing.
Again, I just want to wish you a very happy birthday.
I know you love turtle sundaes. 
So I baked you a cake, a turtle cake.

*caution: this cake turned out extremely messy
                                                                   & extremely addicting.



for the cake . . .
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon instant chocolate pudding mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup piping hot, freshly brewed coffee

for the topping . . .
14 ounces caramel
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

what TO DO

in a large bowl . . .
sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, pudding mix & salt

with a whisk or an electric mixer . . .
add milk, oil & vanilla, whisk until mostly combined
add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition
add the piping hot coffee
whisk hard or on high, for 1 minute

in a saucepan . . .
melt caramel, butter & evaporated milk
add 1/2 cup chopped pecans

in the oven . . .
preheat to 350 F
prepare two 9” round cake pans
(butter the pans, sprinkle some flour in the pan, knock the flour around until all sides are evenly coated)
evenly divide the cake batter between the two pans
bake for 15 minutes, quickly removed from oven
quickly spoon 1/2 of the caramel sauce atop the partially baked cakes
immediately return cakes to the oven
bake for another 15-20 minutes
remove & let cool on a rack

back to the saucepan . . .
remove the remaining caramel mixture from the heat
gradually add powdered sugar
stir well after each addition, this will thicken into a frosting
the more powdered sugar you add, the more spreadable the frosting will become
I made a very runny topping to pour over the cake

once the cakes have cooled . . .
place one cake on a plate
drizzle/spread some topping/frosting in the center
place the second cake on top
drizzle/spread the remaining topping/frosting
sprinkle remaining chopped pecans on top of the cake

Happy Birthday
- Coco  

Oh hey there, would you like to get some coffee with me?  We can go for a stroll, or we can sit and scheme imagined tomorrows.  A little about me?  Hmm . . . I am left-handed, and I am accident-prone.  I eat cereal and chunky peanut butter practically every day, not together.  I also like French toast – preferably made with raisin bread – and punk rock, two things that go perfectly together – don’t you think so?  I grew up on the East Coast.  Late nights sitting up on the hill, watching the relentless city lights.  I tread out west now, but I know those lights have not faded.  Sometimes I miss it – not the city, but the watching the lights.  Mostly I miss my stomping grounds.    

Here’s a little taste of home:



2 – 3/4 Cups flour
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Tablespoon honey
1/2  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon melted butter
5 cloves garlic
Fresh basil
Fresh mint

what TO DO

in a large bowl . . .
heat warm water to just above body temperature
add honey, olive oil & salt, mix
add yeast, mix until the yeast dissolves
let sit for 5 minutes, the mixture should turn frothy

while waiting . . .
on a clean surface sprinkle flour

in the large bowl . . .
add flour in parts, combining well with a wooden spoon
once all the flour in fully incorporated, knead the dough on the floured surface
knead for 5 minutes
return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean dish towel
let the dough rise for 1.5 – 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size (this may take longer depending upon the temperature of the room)
once the dough has doubled, punch it down

on a floured surface . . .
roll out the dough (about 18” x 6”)  until it is about 1/4” thick
cut strips about 1” wide
roll each strip into a shoelace & tie a knot (loop, under, through)
once all the knots are tied, place them on a baking sheet & let them rise for 1 hour

in the oven . . .
preheat to 400 F
bake for 12 -15 mins.

in a small bowl . . .
combine olive oil, melted butter, chopped garlic & herbs

in a large bowl . . .
place the warm garlic knots
pour seasoning on top & toss to coat
-or- brush seasoning on top of each

best warm
store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days

- Coco

Peanut butter is very social.  It gets along great with apples and bananas, crackers and toast, honey and cinnamon.  Peanut butter and chocolate have a love affair.  I wonder how that makes Jelly feel.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs
approx. 15-20 eggs.


for the filling . . .
1 cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

for the chocolate coating . . .
14 ounces chocolate (dark or milk, whichever you prefer)
1 tablespoon butter

what TO DO

in a saucepan . . .
add peanut butter, butter & brown sugar
heat, stirring until melted and combined
removed from heat
add powdered sugar in 3 parts, stirring after each addition

on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper . . .
take a heaping tablespoon  of the peanut butter mixture
using your hands shape the scoop into an egg shape
place each egg on the parchment paper
place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the eggs set

in a microwave safe bowl . . .
add chocolate pieces/morsels and 1 tablespoon butter
heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after every 30 seconds
heat until smooth and liquid
dip each egg into the chocolate one at a time
(you can just plop the egg into the chocolate and use a fork to flip it over)
let any excess chocolate drip off
(finger licking good)
place each egg back onto the parchment paper
place the cookie sheet back into the fridge for another 30 minutes

- Coco