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What are you baking these days? [old]

(Note: There's a newer "What are you baking these days?" thread started. If you have a question or comment about something below, please go ahead and post it. But if you want to add a new thing you're baking to the list, please find the newest thread from this list: http://www.chow.com/search?query=&amp... -- The Chowhound Team )

Ok, so the holiday fruitcake/cookie/splashy dessert frenzy is over (but we have V-Day to look forward to as an excuse for further excess, of course). What are you baking these days? Do you bake certain things just to have in the house, or do you only bake for special occasions? Any wonderful and not-yet-shared family recipes out there?
I baked the Hungarian walnut torte from Rose Levy Beranbaum's heavenly Heavenly Cakes yesterday - it's an 8-egg sponge cake with finely chopped walnuts and chocolate also chopped in the food processor. Quite good but not transcendent (as is her chocolate Valentine's heart, that's a cake and a half) - and most of the chocolate settled down to the bottom, oddly enough. Tasty though!
I always have something sweet in the house, a legacy of my upbringing by an excellent baker mother - madeleines (husband even likes them/prefers them stale), shortbread, a cake, some manner of cookies...how about you?

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  1. I either go crazy baking or I do nothing. It's just the way I am. There's either four different types of cookies, a cake, a pie, and pudding... or nothing. Personally, I'm not big on sweets- but baking is a huge stress reliever for me.

    Recently, I've made an almond cake, lemon bars, raspberry crumb bars, and sauteed bananas. I also made myself a birthday cake. Quick recipes that can be made after dinner are always winners..

    1. Lemons are in season right now in southern California, so I'm making lemon bars, lemon pie, lemon souffle, lemon...

      1. I've been playing around with shortbread cookie dough and unusual (at least for my gang) flavor pairings. With a base dough, so far we've tried:

        lavendar & honey
        rosemary & ginger bits
        corn meal
        graham cracker
        toffee
        roasted coffee nibs
        pecans & ginger bits
        green tea powder and raw sugar
        orange zest and honey
        buckwheat honey
        almonds and raspberry puree
        lemon basil

        Aside from the more adult concoctions, they look beautiful on a tray; lots of interesting colors and textures. With basic cutter shapes and free form circles, but uniform cookie dough sizing, we've knocked out hundreds in no time. I welcome ideas :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: HillJ

          Wow...I love shortbread. too. They do look beautiful on a tea tray. I prefer to do the circles ( I guess they are free form) and cut each into the 8 wedges. I also did shortbread bars this Christmas...they were I think a Martha Stewart recipe....for dried cranberry shortbread, and we drizzled them with dark chocolate. I've also seen recently ( and I honestly can't recall where) a suggestion for shortbread with lemon curd, which sounded great! The recipe, was , I think for a plain scottish shortbread, but I was considering making the Craisin one again to top with the lemon curd...seems like it would be a good combination. Your ideas sound great to me!

          1. re: sunflwrsdh

            sunflwrsdh, your suggestions all sound good to me. Love lemon curd, cranberry and you had me at "chocolate drizzle" which I actually *tried* to avoid on these because I use so much chocolate in my baking, it's a challenge not to. Lemon curd sandwiched btwn two cookies appeals to me. A dried cranberry & almond paste would be nice....even a dark cocoa shortbread...yum...good ideas, all! Thanks!

        2. I love to bake - there's something magical in combining ingredients then sticking it in the oven where heat transforms it into something delicious and wonderful. I love it! And I generally like the results pretty well, too.

          This week I made cinnamon rolls and brownies. I played around with the cinnamon roll recipe some to try making an overnight sponge to see how a developed flavor turned out. I live alone so I have to kind of curb my baking impulses so I don't end up with way too much. I also had a small piece of pie dough in the freezer that I made little cinnamon roll-ups with. Definitely been in a cinnamon mood lately!

          1. last weekend, i made a gateau de crepes for a friend's birthday. It was wonderful.

            the cake left me with 2 or 3 cups of leftover pastry cream (already lightened with whipped cream). I baked some puff pastry i my fridge and tried to make a neopolian with it but i wan't happy with the store bought pastry (oh well... ) had it with some banana slices, tastes like pie...

            i'm baking some pate au choux tonight for my office and filling them up in the office for a nice dessert (nice way to encourage consumption).

            This weekend, i will be making yet another birthday cake it will be either a dobos torte or a Neapolitan cake. (can you tell i am into layers these days?)

            aside from this, i've been making coffee cakes and muffins for breakfast and the office.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jeniyo

              http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/06/hav...
              I love a delicate gateau de crepes. What type of filling did you use?

              1. re: HillJ

                i got the recipe from smittenkitchen. i used the lightened pastry cream described on the site but instead of kirsch (which i don't have), i added some grand marnier. The birthday girl was happy. =)

                1. re: jeniyo

                  Oh that sounds so good, jeniyo!