Denny’s adds menu for Hungry Hobbits

Denny’s is teaming up with Warner Bros. Pictures to cash in on the upcoming geek film, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” The movie opens in theaters December 14, but Denny’s will start serving its Hobbit food November 6.

Denny’s new “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” themed menu will feature a diverse selection of eleven new breakfast, lunch and dinner menu offerings, including the “Hobbit Hole Breakfast,” “Frodo’s Pot Roast Skillet,” and “Build Your Own Hobbit Slam,” which includes new limited time holiday favorites, such as “Pumpkin Patch Pancakes,” “Shire Sausage,” and “Seed Cake French Toast.”

So there won’t be anything as authentic as “Lembas Bread Wrapped in Mallorn Leaves,” or “Samwise Gamgee’s Coneys and Taters,” but there will be trading cards. So, maybe it will be worth a stop-in for breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper…

Apple Fritter Waffles with Maple Glaze

I haven’t tried these apple fritter waffles yet, but when this recipe landed in my inbox today, I knew I had to share it! It’s a waffle batter, but it includes yeast, like a deep fried doughnut! Like an apple-waffle-doughnut with maple glaze. Scroll down for a photo of the finished waffles.

Are you drooling yet? Here’s the recipe, from cookbook author Jess Thomson.

apple fritter waffle recipe


Make the batter
The night before you plan to serve the waffles, make the batter: Whisk the yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar together in the work bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, mace, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Set aside. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla to the foaming yeast mixture. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for about 1 minute, breaking up and melting the butter. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients about a third at a time, mixing until blended and scraping the sides down as necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (You can also make the batter an hour or two before serving and let it sit at room temperature, covered, for about 1 hour before making the waffles.)

Make the apples
Combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts, the liquid evaporates, and the apples are soft and beginning to disintegrate, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the apples to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate them, and reheat before serving the waffles. (You can also make the apple compote in the morning.)

In the morning, make the glaze
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a large bowl with a whisk), blend the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla and maple extracts, maple syrup, and hot water until all of the sugar has been incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. (If the glaze seems to thick, add a little hot water, a teaspoon at a time.)

Make the waffles
Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron to the “crisp exterior” setting (or follow manufacturer’s directions). Add a heaping cup of batter, and cook for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Break the waffle into 4 pieces and dip one side of each waffle into the glaze. Place two waffle squares glazed side-up on each of two plates, and top with some of the apple compote. Serve immediately, then repeat with the remaining batter, glaze, and compote.

Happy Independence Day, Sci-Fi Movie Style

Remember the movie Independence Day (2006), where Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum work together to defeat an alien invasion? There is a scene in that movie where the aliens attack and blow up the White House.

This is a representation of that scene, made of cake, by Charm City Cakes and famous sugar-meister Duff Goldberg. It’s awesome!

Happy Independence Day, everybody!

Organic fruit and nuts?

I’ve had an opportunity to try some new snacks, thanks to my friends at Posh Mama. I was a bit skeptical at first, because although I do enjoy fruit and nuts… Well, I must be honest and say I’d rather have them dipped in chocolate than simply cut and dried, “organic, nothing added.”

But I have to report that I was pleasantly surprised by the Peeled Snacks I tried. My favorite was the “go-Mango-man-go,” which is dried strips of mango, no sugar (or anything else) added. They tasted just like mango should taste, but a bit more intense: sweet, tropical, and a little bit tart. Delicious!! Hubby loves pineapple, and he declared the “pine-4-Pineapple” to be the best. The first-grader even liked the pineapple! The nuts were also tasty, even though they didn’t have any chocolate on them. 🙂

I could get used to these natural treats, and I think I could even get my kids to eat them. I’m definitely going to get some more of those dried mangoes for myself! If you’re interested in some organic snack ideas for your family, check these out.

I gobbled up some free samples of Peeled Snacks fruit and nuts, in order to write this informed review.

As American as apple “pi”

pi dishHere’s a quick geek goodie in honor of US Independence Day. This pretty “pi” pie plate would be perfect for any kind of pie. It has several dozen of the digits of pi around the rim, with a big pi in the center!

You might remember the “pi” pie I featured on my Sugar & Sweets blog, back on Pi Day (3/14 — get it?). That pie in this plate would be geeky pie perfection! I found this pi plate at Signals. I think I want it!

Sorry, but the Bride is in another castle…

I love this wedding cake! This beautiful cake features elements of the Super Mario Brothers and Mario Kart video games, and it is absolutely fabulous! The decorations are all edible, and the actual cake on the inside is “black chocolate cake filled with bittersweet chocolate ganache, chocolate buttercream and chocolate mousse.” Sounds like heaven. Check out the whole photostream to see close-ups of the details.

Mario Kart wedding cake
Photos belong to M.A.L.; found via thegamergene.

Meg Hourihan Makes a “Mean” Chocolate Chip Cookie

Perhaps I get an abnormal amount of satisfaction from a well-done geek project. I also get an unusual amount of satisfaction from a great chocolate chip cookie. This project made me extremely happy, appealing to both my scientific side, and my… well, chocolate side.

I do not have the privilege of knowing Meg Hourihan personally, but I can tell that we would get along! She writes a food blog at, and during a recent recipe search, this post caught my eye: A Mean Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Intrigued, I decided to give the recipe a glance. What I found was a wonderful fusion of geekery and bakery.

Meg, a self-described “Food Enthusiast,” had embarked upon a quest to find THE best chocolate chip cookie. She solicited suggestions, and received more recipes than she could use. To simplify her work, she narrowed the list of recipes down to a dozen contenders.

Then, like any good geek, she made a spreadsheet of the recipes. She converted all of the measurements to base 10, averaged the preparation techniques, chilling times, oven temperatures, baking times, etc. She came up with a formula for a “mean” (averaged, get it?) chocolate chip cookie. You can see the complete recipe on her blog. It is quite brilliant.

So, how did the cookies taste? After doing all of the mathematical calculations, measuring, mixing, chilling, and baking (13.04 minutes at 354.17°F), Meg sampled her creation, and declared…

The first bite revealed a cookie crispy around the rim, warm and chewy on the inside. A few hours later, they were firmer, but still tasty. The best chocolate chip cookies ever? I’m not sure, but I baked A Mean Chocolate Chip Cookie. And that’s enough for me.

A happy ending to a unique kitchen adventure! I say, “thank you!” to Meg for her contribution to the canon of kitchen geekery.