Glossy little cherries have an undeniable appeal at this time of year.
They’re even harder to resist when spotlighted in sweet treats like these “Cherry Upside-Down Cakelets.”
This Food52 recipe is by VVVanessa. When I received my first cherries of the season last week in a bountiful Farm Box, I knew I wanted to do something special with them.
Farm Box is a new start-up by the digital design company, 409 + Co, which was founded by Andreas Winsberg, whose father owns the Bay Area’s Happy Quail Farms, famous for growing the first coveted pimientos de Padron peppers in California.
The cookbook is by Margarita Manzke, co-owner of Republique restaurant and bakery in Los Angeles. The book, written with former Los Angeles Times food writer Betty Hallock, features all the favorite pastries, cookies, cakes and pies from this fabulous bakery that’s a must-stop whenever my husband and I drive to Los Angeles.
In my household, there is a clear division of labor.
My husband is responsible for mowing our minuscule lawn, unclogging drains, and figuring out which smoke detector in the house is causing that incessant beeping.
I make sure we always have a stash of home-made cookies on hand.
It’s an important job, and one that I take seriously.
Oh sure, my husband will indulge my whims to bake cookies with ingredients such as cardamom, rose water, chicharrones, corn nuts, or five-spice — as long as I don’t neglect the mandatory chocolate on a regular basis.
That’s why “Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples” appealed so much. After all, when I practically have to hide all the mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from him until after Halloween, I knew this cookie would be right up his alley.
We all grew up seeing our parents and grand-parents, who lived through the Great Depression, wars, and/or famines, take care — to the extreme — to not let any drop of sauce from a can, any heel of bread or any minute shred of fish off the bone ever go to waste.
Not on their watch.
And now, not on ours, either.
With the pandemic creating food shortages — both real and exaggerated ones — we find ourselves looking at food much differently now, treating everything with the reverence it deserved all along.
The very bottom stems of parsley that I once tossed? No more. Now, they get finely diced and tossed into salads and soups. Those radish tops I once never looked twice at? Now, I savor them sauteed in an egg scramble.
The leftover ricotta I had from making lamb meatballs? Not that I would deign to ever throw something like that out, but these days, it takes on an outsize importance. Yes, that leftover ricotta that I once just nonchalantly enjoyed with berries for breakfast the next day, now seemed too good for that. Clearly, it should be destined for something far more special, I thought.
They’re craved by legions of sweet-tooth travelers. Home-cooks have tried in vain to come up with copycat recipes for it for years. And such is its stature, that it was the first food to actually be baked in orbit — aboard the International Space Station this January.
For so long, the only way to sink your teeth into a bona fide warm DoubleTree Hotel chocolate chip cookie was to check into one of its hotels, where you’re gifted with one for free with your room key.
And faster than my printer could spit out the recipe, I was already putting sticks of butter out on my counter to soften.
Knock on wood, I actually had all the ingredients on hand, too — no easy feat in this pandemic that has stripped store shelves and online sources of many baking products, as we all hunker down to shelter in place, and apparently stress-bake to no end.