Pola Pola Kolačiči (Croatian “Half + Half Cookies”)

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Each year I hold on to our family tradition of exploring the foods of a different culture during the holidays, and Pola Pola Kolačiči is a new recipe on its way to becoming an old classic.

These Croatian cookies (kolačiči) take jammy thumbprints to the next level: One half (pola) studded with poppy seeds, the other half (pola) bathed in espresso + glistening with cinnamon sugar. Where the two meet, a dot of pear cardamom butter — a favorite wintry flavor pair — adds a little something extra. Plus, of course, all the crumbly, buttery goodness you expect of a Christmas cookie.

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Harvest Apple Chai Muffins

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Autumn is my season, and back home in the Wisconsin, it’s the most splendid season of all.

One of the traditions I miss most is driving north along country roads to the rolling, tree-dotted hills of The Little Farmer Orchard in Pipe. Rows and rows of apple trees as far as the eye can see. Twisted branches stretching skyward like gnarly fingers, each drooping slightly under the weight of juicy, white-fleshed Cortlands. A dazzling display of autumnal beauty.

Memories of these orchard afternoons are always on my mind come October. An apple-y sweet does nicely to satisfy some of the nostalgic longings. Traditionally this is an apple crisp with vanilla and lots of walnuts, but this year I dreamed up a spiced multi-grain apple muffin instead. (There’s still plenty of apple season to bake a tray of that crisp.)

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Yogurt Cloud Cake

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Showstopping desserts don’t have to mean fancy techniques or expensive ingredients or even butter and chocolate. Sometimes it’s more about a willingness to change the way we think about every-day food items we keep. Sometimes favoring simplicity + ingenuity wins the day.

A small mountain of fresh figs doesn’t hurt either.

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Pâte à Choux Pastry + Simply Sweet Chouquettes

Eat Well

Pâte à choux (pronounced “pah-ta-zhoo”) is what one might call the universal French dough. From only four main ingredients — butter + liquid (water or milk) + flour + eggs — comes the basis for many types of pastries.

There are the famously French éclairs and profiteroles, and the more American cream puffs and crullers. Gougères take the dough in a savory direction, and the towering croquembouche in its spun sugar cage is an edible masterpiece. But it’s sweet little chouquettes that are my personal favorite.

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Gingered Blueberry-Mulberry Crisp (GF)

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Come summertime, blueberries are royalty in North Carolina. Deep navy berries weigh down nearly every branch of these bountiful high-bush varietals. Cup your hand up and around a ripened bunch to gently, effortlessly dislodge 10 or more berries in one grab, letting them tumble down into one of your waiting baskets.

Mulberry trees, though more prevalent in our home state of Wisconsin than here, are equally as prolific. If not more so. Foraging, conversely, is very tedious. A ladder is needed, and given the limited range of which one can safely stretch atop this lofty perch, re-positioning multiple times is also required. It’s no simple task. Painstaking, even, but if you ask me, worth every minute and bead of sweat as you pluck individual berries in the early summer heat.

Turning from white to fuchsia to the darkest purple when fully ripe, mulberries resemble blackberries in both appearance and seedy texture. If you’ve never tasted one, the flavor is similar to their fig cousins, with subtle floral notes of pear and citrus in the background.

There’s also a touch of bitterness behind the layers of sweet mulberry flavor. Here, beneath a crunchy oat-nut blanket, juicy blueberries and spice notes of cinnamon + fresh and dried ginger offer balance.

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