Tag Archives: sweet & vicious

Maniac Fire Bread

With three kick-ass recipes under my belt, I am finding myself more and more adventurous when it come to the recipes in Sweet & Vicious. In the interest of dipping my toe a teeny bit further into the pool, I decided to try my hand at Maniac Fire Bread, which, with its combination of rich chocolate and spicy serrano chile, sounded like it would be awful or amazing. Oh, and of course, you can’t forget the accompanying Raspberry Smoked Sea Salt Butter.

Notes:

  • This recipe is surprisingly easy; the only difficulty I had was the handling of the chile. You see, something about the oils in any chile pepper irritates my hands and causes them to swell. Unusual, but something to take in to consideration every time a recipe requires that particular addition. Fortunately, Andy was gallant enough to taking on the task of mincing so my temperamental skin was spared.
  • Flavor-wise, I was worried that the chile would be too much for what is a fairly simple bread, but it wasn’t an issue. The richness and the sweetness of all that chocolate and cocoa powder kept the spice from being anything more than the occasional sensation of heat on the back of your pallet. That was a pleasant departure from the cloying sweetness of some of the classic quick bread recipes.
  • I’ve already had two people ask me for a copy of this recipe. I find that truly impressive. Not only did they like it, they liked enough to want to make it for themselves even before knowing whether the recipe is complex or not. High praise indeed.

Blackberry Cobbler Quickbread with Spiced Topping & Blackberry Lemon Thyme Butter

Feeling buoyed by my recent success, I decided to continue on my Sweet & Vicious baking streak. This time I selected a recipe that actually allowed for a lot of variance, but still maintained the sass that I am coming to expect from this book. First, I decided on the cobbler quickbread and, after checking my fridge, refined it to the blackberry iteration of the recipe. Then of course, I went all the way by adding the recommended flavor elevator of blackberry lemon thyme butter to pair with the finished product. Here’s how it went:

Notes:

  • This recipe made me so happy! Reading it and mentally running through the steps, it seemed… well… a bit extra, but every little thing blends perfectly into something so delightful that you don’t mind the effort. Just go for it; you won’t regret it.
  • While the base recipe is solid, it is the bells and whistles that really take this over the top. First the spiced topping, that pinch of cayenne brings the most subtle hint of heat which in turn brings out the sweetness in the berries. The compound butter adds an extra level of richness, and the lemon zest paired with the mashed fruit keeps that slight tart that makes this more than just another sweet quickbread.
  • I am having so much fun with this book; the more recipes I try, the more I want to make.

Hiker’s Bravado Cookies

Inspired by my success with my last recipe from Sweet & Vicious, I decided to try out another one ASAP. One of the things I am really enjoying about this book is the names of the different things she comes up with. Plus, each recipe has a little blurb about her inspiration and more often than not they are quite hilarious.  These Hiker’s Bravado Cookies sounded delicious and appealed to me in spirit since I frequently pray that people will think I am wearing yoga pants because I just came from a work out and not just because they are comfy. I mean, I do have a yoga mat; I’m just not entirely sure where it is right now.

Notes:

  • As you can see, these are not the most attractive cookies; likewise, they are not the cleanest to eat. Expect to end up with pretzel pieces all over; I mean, it looked like a bag pretzels exploded on my counter top by the time I was done. Ultimately, it’s worth it though. These cookies were very good and fairly easy to make. The rolling in the pretzel bits part got a bit messy, but I got rhythm going towards the end.
  • The flavor balance in these cookies is deeply satisfying. You have the richness of the peanut butter, the sweetness from the chocolate chips, a little tart from the dried cranberries, and a nice pop of crunchy salt from the pretzels.
  • The other thing I think is a big selling point for the recipe is how easily it can be made gluten free. Just use GF pretzels and you are good to go. No weird flours or conversions required 🙂

Southern Sartorialist’s Cookie

While my mom was here to lend a hand, I decided to tackle a few of the things on my 31 before 32 list. One of the items she was keen on helping me with was trying out recipes from the Sweet & Vicious Cookbook. We decided on two cookie recipes, the first of which was the Southern Sartoralist’s Cookie. A pretty impressive name to live up to, but we were not disappointed.

Notes:

  • This cookie was so kick ass that we made two batches in three days. The first we took to Andy’s coworkers (all 2 dozen were gone within 3 hours) and the second we made the night before my mom left so she could take them to some of our family in NC. And so she’d have road trip treats, but mostly for family 😉
  • I lucked into some modifications since we made both batches so close together, first we tried this with both dark and light brown sugar and hands down dark brown sugar is the way to go. The other thing I accidentally tweaked was the measurement for the smoked salt. While that stuff is incredibly powerful, I will say that the cookies with a slightly more full 1/2 a tsp (think slightly humped not level) really highlighted the play of salty and sweet in the recipe.
  • I know it is a little more complex than your average rip and dump cookie recipe, but it is well worth the effort. I get a lot of positive feedback on my baking, but rarely have a gotten this enthusiastic of a response. After having one of the left over cookies for dessert the day we made the first batch, Andy even said it was good that he hadn’t tried the cookies when we dropped them off at his office because he wouldn’t have be able to stop himself from eating them all. My mom is on a very strict diet right now (she’s lost almost 30lbs!), but after trying a single bite, she rearranged her daily calorie allotment to make sure she had enough at the end of the day for a single cookie.