Chocolate Chip and Walnut Meringue Cookies

When I bake, I prefer to have the entire process, from the first measuring cup I fill to the last countertop I wipe, contained within an afternoon. On some occasions, such as when I make pie, the afternoon inevitably extends into the evening, but rarely have I ever made something that required an overnight stay in the oven. These chocolate chip and walnut meringue cookies, or “forgotten kisses” according to Emeril Lagasse, had a toasty sleepover in my oven after their initial 2 hour baking time.

These meringue cookies are winter white, but texturally, they are crisp like fall leaves. In full embrace of the chillier months ahead, but still holding onto memories of summer, these delicate, simple, and handheld treats are the perfect transition confection.

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Blueberry Scones

What do I miss when I’m away from home? Lately, this question hasn’t been so easy to answer. At first when I was adjusting to life in England, year-round avocados, reliably fantastic Chinese or Japanese food, and unsweetened almond milk might have been my immediate answers. But since then, I’ve temporarily relocated to Beijing. From here, there are plenty of things I now see that I intensely miss about England, which I didn’t realize had become my home away from home. I’m thinking of Cornish clotted cream with the right amount of dense, textural inertia, fish ‘n’ chips with barely-there batter and zingy tartar sauce, and finally, the warm, rustic light inside my favorite pub in Oxford, a cozy glow that belonging to the color spectrums of worn wood and cracked leather.

In contrast to the whole pub culture though, is the afternoon tea ritual. I have previously written about afternoon tea on KbK and my followers on Instagram know that I love it and love it often. But what to do when I’m at home, but away from my home away from home? Make scones. Even if you don’t follow my logic, I don’t know anyone that can’t follow scones, and these blueberry ones are the kind that help life make sense even when it doesn’t really at all.

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Churrascos, Houston

Seems like ages ago when I was in Texas last. If you couldn’t tell, this KbK has been in some sort of extended hibernation as I began my graduate program in England and got settled with my new living situation.

This is the latest part of my Texas series, about 8 months delayed. Stephen took me here for my 22nd birthday, recalling positive dining experiences with his father when he still lived in Houston.Image

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Buffalo Grille, Houston

I absolutely love brunch. I already love each of the “normal” meals, but brunch is extra special because it is impossible to be in a bad mood while having brunch. Usually brunch time means you got to sleep in and/or it’s the weekend. And because it’s such a filling meal, with both salty and sweet elements, you’re pretty much set for the rest of the day until dinner. I could eat brunch every day.

Now, the Buffalo Grille in Houston is not a brunch-only sort of place, but I was in my brunch mood (which was heightened by the general happiness from being on vacation) and everything that touched my mouth was awesome. It kind of reminded me of Urth Caffé in Los Angeles, only with Texas-sized portions, a general embrace of fried elements, and of course real maple syrup.

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Funfetti Cake Pops

One of the most influential blogs on the Internet belongs to Angie at Bakerella. Her fun, playful style, crafty, creative ideas, and ceaseless passion for everything cute and sweet in life is infectious and inspirational. When I first started blogging, Bakerella was where I headed for tips on everything baking, especially when it came to the crucial photography moments. But, despite Krafted by Kelly’s two year history, my first time making cake pops was last week. And Bakerella’s famous book has already spawned various kits, international editions, and most recently, a cake pop toy set. When I finally decided to make cake pops, I wasn’t quite ready to master the complicated shapes and characters she details in her book, but to capture her colorful, fun-loving take on baking and decorating, I knew funfetti cake pops with rainbow sprinkles and non-pareils would be a faithful homage.

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Chuys, Houston

I had the best steak fajitas when I was in Houston. They were so good that when I crave steak fajitas now, I am specifically craving Chuys’ steak fajitas. Chuys, a chain that started in Austin, is another one of Stephen’s top spots. Boasting a cantina vibe, deep margaritas, funky decor, and honestly fantastic Tex-Mex cuisine, this is a place that makes the Tio Lio’s or the El Torito I know a few miles away in San Diego as interesting and tasty as stale white bread.

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Crack Pie

When my family recently hosted an impromptu dinner party and I was in charge of the dessert, crack pie was a great choice because it delivered as both an interesting conversation starter and as a well-received dessert. Crack Pie is one of the destination desserts that people have to order upon arriving at momofuku milkbar. At $44/pie (according to their website), this sweet disc of ooey-gooey, oaty, crunchy, and salty harmony is surprisingly easy to make.

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