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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #24 and Tiramisu for Two

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Don’t you love the word “tiramisu”?

It sounds like the name of a heroine from a Renaissance ballad, outwitting lecherous barons left and right to escape with her true love, a dashing but impoverished country boy who turns out to be a prince in disguise testing to see if her love is sincere and when he realizes it is revealing his true identity and asking for her hand in marriage that she might become his princess and they can live happily ever after.

Whew! Sorry about that. Got a little carried away. The word “tiramisu” does that to me–so exotic and somehow romantic and enticing.

And the dessert behind the word is even better, if that’s possible. There are about a million versions of tiramisu out there. Our Tiramisu for Two is both easy and delicious. And because it makes only two generous servings (did I mention romantic dinner by candlelight?), you don’t have to worry about the leftovers getting soggy.

And if you want, you can make another batch for tomorrow night, using the leftover vanilla pudding. And maybe this time you will get to eat both, while you read our serialized novel, Two Sisters Times Two. Romance is fine now and then, but it’s hard to beat a quiet night alone with a good book.

tiramisu for 2

Tiramisu for Two

ladyfinger cookies*

2 Tablespoons hot water

1 teaspoon instant coffee

1 small box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups cold milk

1 cup whipped cream or whipped topping

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

tiramisu for two

Layer three ladyfinger cookies into the bottom of each serving dish. If you need to, break up the lady fingers so that the entire bottom of the dish is covered.

Mix together the hot water and instant coffee. Divide this mixture between the two dishes and drizzle over the cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pudding mix and milk until thickened. Allow the pudding to sit for 5 minutes. You will only need half of the pudding; place other half in refrigerator for later use. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding until well mixed. Divide this mixture between the two serving dishes, layering on top of coffee soaked cookies.

Sprinkle cocoa powder over top of pudding, using a sifter. This will help avoid clumps of cocoa powder. Cover each dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight. When you are ready to serve, top each dish with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with mint.

Makes 2 desserts.

*My local grocery store doesn’t carry ladyfinger cookies, so I used vanilla wafers. I put 5 vanilla wafers in each dish.


{Adapted from Kraft}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #24 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #24, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #24, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23 and S’mores Bark

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Used to be that bark was the sound your dog made or what you found on the outer surface of a tree trunk.

But now the term has made its way into the kitchen (and my mouth) in all sorts of delightful and decadent combinations. These easy to make candies are especially popular at Christmas time as gifts and dessert-buffet treats.

And now R&R has a summertime bark candy for you. The traditional s’mores prepared around the campfire have been a summertime staple back about as long as there were campfires and kids to sit around them. I’m guessing the marshmallow roasted on a pointy stick was a way for adults to let kids play with fire without burning down the forest.

With this S’mores Bark you can have that traditional campfire treat without the pointy stick or the charred marshmallow or the risk of burning down the woods. These s’mores are in an easy to prepare, easy to store, easy to carry packet. Just make up a sheet, bust it into small pieces, and divide into single serving baggies, then share them with your grateful friends.

Or keep them all to yourself. It makes for a decadent nibble while listening to Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23, or any of the other audio stories on this website.

smore bark S’mores Bark

2 cups chocolate chips*

2 cups mini marshmallows

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 full graham cracker sheets, broken into small pieces

smores bark

Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

Place 1 cup of your chocolate chips into a sauce pan and melt over low heat. Pour melted chocolate onto your Silpat mat and spread with a knife, ensuring the layer does not get too thin. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an hour.

After an hour, remove the chocolate layer from the refrigerator. In a separate sauce pan, add your mini marshmallows, butter, and salt. Heat over low heat until fully melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in vanilla extract. Working quickly, spread the melted marshmallows over top of the chocolate layer. Press graham cracker pieces into marshmallow layer. Refrigerate bark for another 30 minutes.

Lastly, melt remaining cup of chocolate chips over low heat. Spread chocolate over top of graham crackers. Place the bark in your freezer for an hour or until completely hardened.

Break the bark into pieces and serve. Place any remaining bark in a Ziploc bag and store in your refrigerator.

Makes about 10 medium pieces of bark.

*I used a mixture of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips, but feel free to use just milk chocolate.

smores candy

{Adapted from Wine and Glue}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #23 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #22 and Blueberry Buckle

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So what is it about August that makes it feel like summer is almost over?

In fact we’re barely halfway through the summer. But every year about now I start to feel like summer is winding down and before you know it we’ll be raking leaves (I know, that’s so old-school–blowing leaves with our hundred and fifty MPH super-charged leaf-blower!) and scraping frost off our windshields and wondering where the summer went.

I guess this sense of waning summer in August dates to our vacations as kids, when August was the end of summer for us–summer vacation, anyway. Once a kid, always a kid.

So with that summer nostalgia frame of mind, this week’s recipe is Blueberry Buckle. Blueberries are the fruit of summer, far as I’m concerned. And in most places blueberry season is winding down. So get out there and pick some blueberries and mix up this cake and cut yourself a big piece and relish in the fact that it’s summer!

(Because before you know it the snow will be swirling and a frigid north wind will be howling.)

bluberry buckle

Blueberry Buckle

For the cake:

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel topping:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1 Tablespoons granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 5×7 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

To make the cake batter, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, or about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until ingredients are fully incorporated. Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt, careful not to over mix the batter. Last, gently fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

To make the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and ground cinnamon. Mix in the butter until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the butter. Break up the streusel into small pieces and sprinkle over top of cake batter.

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Serves 4-6.


{Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #22 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #22, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #22, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #21 and Peaches ‘n Cream (No Machine!) Ice Cream

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O.K. Break out the rock salt and the ice and the ice cream maker (that old thing with the slatted wood sides and the crank and those mean-looking gears on top) and get ready to spend the next three hours or so turning that crank until your arm feels like it’s about to fall off (or maybe it did and you just don’t know it because your nerves are numb from cranking forever). It’s time to make home-made ice cream!

Yippee! (Yeah, right! Think I have time to slip out the back door and put myself up for adoption?)

That’s how it was to make ice cream in dem olden days. Store-bought tasted better all the time!

And then there were those electric ice cream makers that shut off or blew a fuse (the machine and the chef!) about two minutes before the ice cream was frozen and you had to rush to scoop it into the bowls and serve it to your guests before it totally melted and everybody tried to pretend it was ice cream when really it was cold cream soup.

Well, have no fear. We have an ice cream here that won’t blow your fuse or kill your arm because it doesn’t require a machine, just a little do-ahead mixing and planning. And the result is deelish–dense and rich but also fruity and natural.

So put that old hand-crank machine out on the porch as antique art. R&R has you covered with this no-fuss, no-crank home-made Peaches ‘n Cream Ice Cream that will leave your arm intact and your blood pressure in check and your taste buds happy.

peach ice cream Peaches ‘n Cream (No Machine!) Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream*

14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces peach yogurt (such as Chobani or Yoplait)

2-3 large peaches, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

1/4 cup peach preserves

ice cream

Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the cream, condensed milk, vanilla extract, and peach yogurt for a couple of minutes until smooth and thickened. Gently fold in the peaches. Pour the ice cream into a freezer safe container with a lid.

Cover the ice cream and freeze for 4-5 hours, or until somewhat thickened. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and stir it to incorporate the peach pieces that floated to the top. Microwave the preserves for 30 seconds, or until they are liquid. Drizzle the preserves on top of the ice cream, and stir once or twice. You want the preserves to keep a swirled effect.

Cover and return the ice cream to your freezer. Freeze for another 4-5 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove the ice cream from your freezer and allow to come to room temperature for 10 minutes. This will make scooping much easier! Scoop desired amount of ice cream into serving bowls and garnish with mint.

Makes about 5 cups.

*You can use half and half or whole milk if you want a lower calorie and fat ice cream.

peaches n cream

{Adapted from The Fruitguys}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #21 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #21, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #21, text © Jeffrey Anderson