Thursday, November 26, 2015


By: Amy Weinberg

'Tis the season for giving, spiked eggnog, and overeating. It's time to chuck the sagging pumpkin face and toss up those holiday lights. Growing up a Jew, I can't speak to the religious aspect of Christmas lights (we stick to 9 candles), but man are they pretty to look at. 

BUT, I am getting a little ahead of myself because tonight is the night that kicks off this 5 week party. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday not because my birthday falls on it every few years, but because of the atmosphere. Delicious aromas fill the air, every imaginable dog breed is on television, and unbuttoning your pants after dinner is no longer 'frowned upon'. Thanksgiving is for everyone! At a time where tensions are high across the world, it's nice to have a true American holiday. Black or White, Christian or Muslim, West Coast or East Coast, Thanksgiving is for you. Whether you love dog shows (me), football (me), or stuffing yourself with food (me), Thanksgiving is for you. The only qualifications for Thanksgiving are a giving heart and an empty stomach.

(Special shout-out to the Native Americans who let us 'discover' their land)

At the risk of sounding corny, one thing for which I am very thankful is My Grandma's of New England. And no, I'm not talking about the coffee cakes (my waistband certainly isn't thankful for those), but the people who make My Grandma's what it is. I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity provided to me by wonderful people. Coffee cakes aside, this is the sweetest job I've ever had.

A few other things I am thankful for:

  • All of the beautiful cheese you see on that potato above
  • The fact that my entire family somehow prefers white meat 
  • The increasing acceptance of sarcasm as my second language 
  • The air in my lungs and the blood in my veins

Now that the turkey has been (somewhat) consumed and everyone is in a food coma, is it time to start getting in the Christmas Spirit. Whether you see this time of the year as a religious one or not, one thing remains true: no one is kinder than they are in the month of December. 

With that being said, I'll leave you with this challenge:

Never lose that 'Christmas Spirit', whatever that means to you. I know it's hard because the climax that is the end of each year is always followed by the drag of a long winter (for most of us). The only thing shorter than patience during this time is daylight. I get it. Unless you absolutely thrive in below freezing temperatures and snow-walls the size of my house, the first few months of the year are always the toughest. But don't lose that warm, giving spirit on January 1st. It's so easy for your outlook to match the bitterness of the weather, but never lose that warmth. Never lose the generous, loving, inclusive feeling you have right now.

Your prize? A blog next week on what to do with all of that left over coffee cake!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Delightful Delectables: Pumpkin Meringue

By: Amy Weinberg

'Tis the season for pumpkin, am I right? In a world where pumpkin rules the months of September, October, and November, blogging without this orange fruit almost felt blasphemous. 

I decided to take a swing at some meringue after seeing an adorable pumpkin meringue recipe online. I've only every experienced meringue on top of pies and didn't even know that it could stand on its own as a cookie. 

Meringue is not as complicated as one may think. With only 4 simple ingredients, the only headache you'll run into is the preparation. As is the case with most baking, patience is key. Patience will transform OK meringue into thick, stiff, beautiful peaks. Patience is something I do not have. 

Along with your patience, the other 4 ingredients you will need are 2 eggs,  1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 cup sugar, and food coloring. 

Step 1: Preheat your over to 275 degrees and place wax paper on a cookie sheet.

Step 2: Separate the yolk from the whites and mix the egg whites in a bowl with the cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until stiff peaks begin to form.

**This is when you will find out if you really have patience**

You will beat and beat and beat until you can hardly hold the mixer and you still may not see results. I can't even give you an accurate timeframe of how long it will take for the stiff peaks to form. Let's just say, don't attempt this recipe when you're pinched for time. 

Note: If there is ANY trace of yolk mixed in with the whites, you will not get those highly-covetted stiff peaks. 

Step 3: Slowly (1 teaspoon at a time) beat in all of the sugar until your mixture is stiff and glossy.

Step 4: Gently fold in your food dye and place your mixture into a pastry bag.

Step 5: Step 5 is piping your meringue onto the cookie sheet in a pumpkin form. This is where the recipe lost me. While my peaks were stiff and my meringue was holding, I had no idea how to pipe it into the form of a pumpkin. 

Step 6: Bake your cookies for 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes is up, turn off your oven, but LEAVE IN your meringue for another hour. 

Some of you may be thinking "Hey Amy, your meringue came out looking not so pumpkin-like, can you eat them at least?"and the short answer is yes. Long answer? I personally put meringue I the same category as fondant: edible for all, enjoyable for few. 

In order to jazz these up a bit and avoid having the cookies look like orange-brown blobs, I decided to use them as a cake topper. I grabbed the closest My Grandma's Pumpkin Spice coffee cake and some cream cheese frosting and went to work. 

All in all, if someone can show me how to make a pumpkin out of meringue, I'll show you a pretty sweet cake topper.