For me, a perfect dessert is a careful contradiction, a balance of textures and tastes, of sweet and salty and an undertone of something tart or bitter.

And sometimes you can hit that balance by happy accident. That’s what happened here. As a finishing touch for our recent Sandwich Party, I tried another blogger’s recipe for chocolate sandwich cookies. The flavors sounded promising, but something in it rang alarm bells for me.

And rightly so. My dough didn’t come together as promised — or at all — so I had to improvise. A little melted butter here, a little extra flour there, and a rest in the fridge did wonders. Thanks to instinct and accident, I ended up with a winner of a recipe, one that I know I’ll make again and again. (And then laziness, inattention, and a power outage delayed my posting. But you have it now, my sweeties, and I have the accidental recipe archived here for many future occasions, so let’s count our blessings.)

I love this cookie. I call them “fauxreos,” but they deliver so much more than an Oreo: more chocolate punch, with a rich, almost bitter undertone, more crispy crunch and creamy lushness. The crispy chocolate wafers are deeply, darkly chocolatey and faintly sweet, with a slightly salty edge that makes them the perfect foil to the rich sweet filling. The assembly process is a bit of a chore, but when you bite into the first cookie, you’ll know it’s worth every moment. Continue reading

the Ploobwich

The Bitwrathploob has sampled sandwiches around the world, but that doesn’t mean he turns up his battered red replacement nose at humble homemade fare.

During this weekend’s Sandwich Party, Ploobie and I enjoyed this easy, cozy meal: a hot sandwich of cheddar and tomato on beer bread, served with a brimming bowl of simple black bean soup. Continue reading

The ‘Ploob on the Prom

Welcome to Maine, The Way Life Should Be!

The Bitwrathploob arrived from Bulgaria late this summer for an extended stay with The Fella and me. For the first few weeks, we stayed pretty close to the hearth, the ‘Ploob gracing our living room from a position of prominence on his shelf. We’re homebodies, but eventually I realized I had to start taking ole ‘Ploobie out and showing him the sights. After all, the little guy is a world traveler; he doesn’t want to sit around our living room watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”*

We kicked it off on Labor Day when friend AC suggested a picnic on Portland’s Western Promenade, and promised to bring along A) her fantastic peach sangria with basil, B) her partner JE, and C) her Italian greyhounds, Turk and Pal. (Turk and Pal, who are delightful companions even for a dog-skittish type like me, evinced great interest in every passing dog, squirrel, hippie, child, bicycle, skateboard, bocce ball, and shirtless fellow, but — happily — no interest at all in a buck-toothed rope-armed troll-haired pantsless wood bear. Phew.)

For a modest outing, it offered plenty of excitement. In addition to the delicious food and drink, the Ploob witnessed a drum circle, a dreadlocked dog the size of a horse, the furtive intercourse of strangers in the underbrush, and all manner of inappropriate shirtlessness. Thanks for coming to stay with us, Bitwrathploob. I hope we can make your visit a happy one!

*Yeah, but he’s going to. And he’ll like it.