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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
        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

              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!

            2. Just got BBA and Beard on Bread (second time I've had this book, loaned it out years ago and never got it back) so you know what I'm up to.
              Made some simple peanut butter cookies this morning: peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking powder, vanilla and salt, I added three heaping tablespoons of cocoa for a richer, less sweet version. Worked out well.
              I've had a real hankering for the Intense Chocolate Tea Bread, recipe from Elizabeth Allston's Best Baking, made with cocoa and sour cream, and some nice sticky buns; I saw a recipe at www.thefreshloaf.com made from croissant dough; guess I'll have to diverge slightly from the savory bread baking.

              Tea bread link, same as recipe in Ms. Allston's book:
              Add some chocolate chunks or chips to this, a nice touch. Serve with whipped cream.

              7 Replies
              1. re: bushwickgirl

                That sounds great as do your pb cookies. Try the Mrs Elizabeth Ovenstad's bread and George Lang's potato bread on the BonB, I love that book.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Thanks, I was eyeballing those two recipes already to maybe do on the weekend; and I do love potato bread. First time I made potato bread (back in the 70's) I didn't cook the potatoes until tender enough to mash well and it was potato chunk bread, ha ha.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    There's a recipe for potato bread in it that uses raw grated potatoes. Didn't like it. The other two are staples in our household. The pecan twisted buns that he has you rise in a sinkful of water are incredible - and now there are decent ziplock bags, you don't have to follow the instructions to wrap the dough in a tea towel (it gets truly icky to clean after using).

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Injured my shoulder and have a pinched nerve so no baking or hardly even any housework, lifting, typing, just a lot of TV. Boo-hoo. I should be better in another week and can get back to baking.
                      Thanks for the pecan bun recipe info...looking forward to trying them.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        Poor lady - I've had a broken wrist and an elbow fracture and know that physical incapacity is very annoying indeed! Hope you are soon better.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  Bushwickgirl, thanks for providing the link for the tea bread! I made it last week and it got rave reviews. It's a keeper.

                3. I almost never bake sweets. I can sometimes be persuaded to do so by an extremely seductive-looking brownie recipe, or a unique cake (hazelnut and cardamom, for instance), but for my time spent in the kitchen, bread has the most return on investment, IMO. I just did my first loaf of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day and it's seriously gorgeous and I'm itching to cut into it. Resisting... resisting...

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: LauraGrace

                    Wow...I just checked out that video for Healthy Bread in Five on amazon...I am not a big bread eater at ALL...but that looks so incredibly great! How did yours turn out?

                    1. re: Val


                      The storage container makes it so simple to create this tasty, quick dough over and over!

                      1. re: HillJ

                        HillJ, would you mind sharing your basic shortbread recipe? I am looking for one that i can dip into melted dark chocolate.

                        the next thing up for me is a try at homemade oreo cookies. making them for a superbowl party

                        1. re: ediecooks

                          ediecooks, after two months of experimenting with flours, butters, flavorings and sugars the basic recipe for shortbread (winner, imho) is this version posted by blogger, 101cookbooks.com, taken from The Castle Cookbook by Marjorie Collard and Ann Marie Lopez. Chilling the dough, avoiding overhandling of the dough; key.

                          You can find it here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...


                          1. re: ediecooks

                            oh on the dipping side of things, my son was on "dip detail" at one party and set out a tray of vanilla bean shortbreads with a choice of homemade strawberry jam, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce and orange blossom honey to dip the cookies in. The caramel was his favorite but I thought his CH-spirit deserved high praise.

                        2. re: Val

                          Oh, fabulous! The crust especially -- super crisp and crackery-biscuity tasting, but not too thick. Supposedly it gets better as the dough ferments in the fridge, taking on a sourdough quality and developing a more open texture. I only made the dough on Saturday so I can't tell you that from experience, but I'm hopeful, judging by yesterday's batch!

                          You can get the master recipe and about a million variations on www.artisanbreadinfive.com.

                      2. My son is on a cross country road trip. He asked for a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread to take with him for pb & j sandwiches en route. It came out so well he and my husband ate it before he took off. So I had to make him another and another for my husband as well.

                        I also made an awesome bread pudding flavored with Navan liqueur from some homemade bread that got stale.

                        And I mixed up some peanut butter cookie dough so I can bake half a dozen to have ready for my husband when he gets home from work each night. Oops! Better go put a sheet in the oven!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: rainey

                          I would love that cinnamon raisin bread recipe, if you wouldn't mind, rainey -- my efforts at it have failed (in that delicious-but-ugly way that only baked goods an fail) up to this point.

                          1. re: LauraGrace

                            Sorry to be so tardy replying. Hope you'll still get this.

                            Steve's Cinnamon Raisin Bread

                            • 1 1/2 cup spring water
                            • 1 teaspoon vanilla
                            • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
                            • 3 1/2 cup bread flour
                            • 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
                            • 1/4 cup sugar
                            • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
                            • 1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
                            • 1 teaspoon flour
                            • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, (optional)
                            • 1 cup raisins, plumped by steeping in warm water or juice

                            Place water, vanilla, salt, 3 1/2 cups flour, yeast and sugar into the pan of your bread machine. Program the machine for dough cycle. The dough should be soft and barely sticky. Adjust flour or liquids as necessary during the mixing cycle.

                            While dough is being mixed and kneaded, combine cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, hydrate raisins with warm water or juice. Have nuts at the ready.

                            On completion of dough cycle, turn out onto floured board. Press and stretch into a rectangle about as wide as your bread pan. If the dough doesn't want to stretch, a rest at this stage will make it easier to work in a few minutes. Now press and stretch as long and thin as possible poking out any blisters of air.

                            Take raisins from liquid and drain onto paper towels. Pat off as much surface moisture as possible.

                            Sprinkle spices onto the dough covering as evenly as possible and leaving about 1 1/2" at one narrow end naked. Sprinkle nuts and raisins evenly over the cinnamon layer. Now, starting at the narrow end with spices and raisins, roll tightly into a loaf pulling and stretching dough as you roll to eliminate air pockets. Press the naked dough to the bottom of the roll to seal. Placing seam side down, rub with softened butter and place in bread pan. Cover loosely with a towel and allow to rise for about an hour or until it just domes over top of pan.

                            Meanwhile, set oven at 375˚ and allow to preheat. Reduce oven temp to 350˚ when you load the pan in and bake risen loaf for 30-40 minutes. On removing it from the oven, leave loaf in the pan but butter the top and cover it with a towel or heavy napkin to enclose the steam and soften the crusts, place it on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan. At this point if the crust isn't soft enough to suit, you and lightly drape a towel over it again until it cools completely.

                            Makes 1 loaf of about 1 1/2 pounds

                            • Notes:

                            Brown sugar can also be sprinkled on with the spices and raisins.

                            Here's a pic: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2719/4...

                            PS This makes great bread pudding. All you have to add is the custard.

                        2. due to multiple meetings, the crummy weather, and my best friend's break-up, i've been baking a lot...

                          creme brulee bread pudding
                          oatmeal raisin cookies
                          toffee croissants
                          cranberry nutella chip biscotti
                          gruyere cheese straws
                          granola cinnamon swirl bread

                          ...to name a few...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Emme

                            oh my gosh! you can make biscotti from nutella? can you share the recipe?

                            1. re: jeniyo

                              i create "nutella chips" by spreading nutella on parchment paper very thin, then putting in the freezer, then i create mini chips from the sheet.

                              1/4 cup light olive oil
                              2/3 - 3/4 cup white sugar (depending upon your tastes... i usually cut down b/c of using the nutella "chips")
                              2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                              1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract or use 2 1/2 - 3 tsp vanilla only
                              2 eggs
                              1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
                              1/4 teaspoon salt
                              1 teaspoon baking powder
                              1/2-1 tsp cinnamon, OPTIONAL
                              1/2 cup dried cranberries
                              1/2 cups crushed hazelnuts
                              as many nutella chips as you want mixed in (make sure they are frozen before you add them in)

                              mix oil and sugar; beat in egg, then stir in extracts. mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add to eggs/sugar. mix in cranberries, nuts, and lastly (and quickly) the nutella chips. form into 2 logs and place on parchment paper. bake fro 35 minutes at 300. remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. reduce oven to 275, slice to 3/4 in thick slices and bake 8-10 min til crisp.

                              [if however, you're looking for a biscotti recipe with nutella blended in, give these a go: http://bakingbites.com/2005/06/nutell... ]

                          2. my niece made red velvet cake. excellent but horrifying to note it takes a whole bottle of red food coloring. granted it is a small bottle.
                            I just made tira misu with costco pound cake. good but I'm always amazed at how this is really a women's dessert, they love it. I think I prefer a fruit trifle. for cream I drained nonfat yogurt overnight, sweetened with brown and white sugar, whipped in heavy cream. that turned out pretty well.

                            1. I have been experimenting with those savory cakes that are so popular in France now. I've made 3 in a couple weeks and the new husband is now tired of them.

                              1. small batches of croissants with small amount of yeast and lots of refrigerator time for slow rise. No fuss if the dough is given the time to rest.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: HLing

                                  that looked beautiful! i would love to learn how to make croissants!

                                  1. re: HLing

                                    Wow! Very impressive croissants!

                                    1. re: sunflwrsdh

                                      Thanks jeniyo and sunflwrsdh for your kind words!

                                  2. In the past week I made:
                                    Monkey Bread
                                    Choc chip cookies (cook's country recipe)
                                    flatbread pizza
                                    Hoping to make a batch of rugelach tomorrow.

                                    I bake at least 3x per week... I find it very relaxing.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: iluvcookies

                                      Don't forget to visit the post on rugelach, it was so helpful to me!
                                      Here's one of them: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/347827
                                      Just use the CH search engine and type "rugelach" & specify Home Cooking Board

                                      My kids love (to much) monkey bread!

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Thanks for the heads up. I actually use the 2nd Ave Deli recipe but I use real butter and cream cheese (their recipe is pareve).

                                        And my monkey bread recipe evolved out of one for cinnamon rolls... I find it much more theraputic to form the little dough balls rather than rolling the log. It is fun to see the little ones (and Grandpa) grab the little pieces of dough.

                                    2. PS the walnut cake seems to stale rather quickly. Still good tho.

                                      1. Bread (no-knead) from Jim Lahey's book. The basic crusty loaf; ciabatta; walnut-raisin; cranberry-pecan; pain integrale (part whole wheat); olive.
                                        So easy it hardly qualifies as baking. I'm obsessed.
                                        The up side is that all this bread and, later, croutons has gotten me making things to spread on it--two kinds of marmalade; raspberry jam; meyer lemon curd; chicken liver pate

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          See, now you're talking! I've only gotten so far as Irish butter and Affinois cheese on MY bread! :)

                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                            well, i wouldn't kick those out of my larder.

                                          2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            Slice it thin when it gets stale and make some melba toast with it (300 deg F oven for 15-20 mins, watch it) - 1000% better than the commercial stuff, nice with cheese, spreads, etc.

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              I, too, am obsessed with the no-knead bread concept. After trying the Lahey recipe, my Cook's Illustrated arrived, with their 'Almost No-Knead' bread technique. Made for a much better loaf, IMO. They had several variations that were fabulous, as well - Rosemary-Olive was outstanding.

                                              I hate that CI and their website subscription is so expensive. My mom subscribes for me for xmas every year. I'm too lazy right now (it's late!) , but tomorrow I'll try to dig up that issue and send it to you, if you want. Peace!

                                              1. re: southern_expat

                                                If you know which CI issue it's in, let me know I'll look for it in my stacks. What is it you like better about the CI loaf?

                                            2. For a dinner party the other night I baked a divine APPLE CREAM CHEESE TART WITH BALSAMIC CRANBERRY GLAZE, it was lovely! here is the recipe


                                              It was a huge hit and was a really nice balance between tart and sweet

                                              1. I'm getting ready to bake anise cookies and choc chip cookies (1/2 choc chip and 1/2 butterscotch chip). Then I might make some cake balls for a Superbowl party.

                                                Cake balls - bake a boxed cake (any flavor), crumble it when it starts to cool down. Add 1/2 can frosting (any flavor) and form into 1" balls. Refrigerate for 1 hour then dip in melted chocolate.

                                                I usually stick to recipes from scratch, but found this one online and couldn't resist. You can use any combination your heart desires. Yellow cake with choc frosting and white choc coating, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and dark choc coating, white cake with triple choc chip frosting and milk choc coating, etc.

                                                1. i'm baking this cake with nutella tonight.

                                                  i'm going to spray some cream + agave on the cookies to soften them up a bit.

                                                  wish me luck!!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: jeniyo

                                                    this looks fantastic! maybe i'll make it with raspberry plum jam for superbowl!

                                                  2. This weekend, bread of some sort (have my eye on the seeded bread in Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Bread Every Day") and maybe the brownies from this month's CI, which are supposed to be chewy and are modeled on a box mix. Haven't made a box mix in a million years so have nothing to compare them to - but chewy is good. Tempts me off Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies - the epitome of scrummy - for once. Shall report.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Hve the bread dough in the fridge, baking it tomorrow. Having been foiled by the weather in my pursuit of a grand day in cooking (no snow to speak of in NYC), I didn't get to the brownies. Soon though.

                                                    2. Late last night, I was jonsing for something CHOCOLATE and dense.

                                                      So I looked at the "grandma's brownies" recipe here on the site http://www.chow.com/recipes/11404 and altered it a bit, using 1.5 sticks of butter, 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, 3 or 4 tablespoons each cocoa powder and sweet ground chocolate, 1 cup each vanilla and regular sugar, 1/2 stick cream cheese, 2/3 cup flour and a pinch of salt, and 3 eggs.

                                                      They came out really rich and not too sweet, with just a touch of tartness.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Popkin

                                                        MMMMM! Lately, I have wanted flourless chocolate cake. I've been messing with making an individual serving in an ovensafe bowl. Current version is going something like:

                                                        4 tbsp water
                                                        pinch salt
                                                        4 tbsp sugar
                                                        a bunch of cocoa powder
                                                        1 tbsp butter
                                                        1 egg

                                                        Mix water, sugar, salt in saucepan and heat until dissolved. Take off heat, mix in butter (there will be enough heat leftover to melt it) and allow mixture to cool before mixing in the rest of the stuff. Cook in an ovenproof bowl set in a pan of boiling water at 300 degrees for about 35 minutes-- put bowl in freezer (or in snow, if you happen to be in the middle of a blizzard) for 20 minutes. Outside will be set and middle will be goey and warm.

                                                      2. Recently:

                                                        - Cheesecake: Strawberry (cake good, sauce meh)
                                                        - Cheesecake: Salted Caramel (both good! Keepers!)


                                                        - Traditional tapioca cookies for the Chinese New Year. We'll see how that goes.

                                                        I'll be posting the cheesecake recipe this week and if the cookies go well, that'll go up too. My mother warns me that the latter is actually pretty difficult...

                                                        http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

                                                        1. I'm planning on making a white almond coconut cake with some type of light, not too sweet frosting with shredded coconut on top for my mom's birthday Friday!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: lyntc10

                                                            Possibly because I've just moved somewhere where I don't know anyone... the idea of making fancy/pretty/impressive desserts hasn't done much for me. So I've been making simple, comfort foods. Cookies. A great simple coconut arborio rice pudding that was featured in Food and Wine last month. And, for the first time in my life, madeleines (never spell those right). At least I got to try out the new pan :)

                                                            1. re: anakalia

                                                              There's a reason that stuff is called "comfort" food. NEVER underestimate it! ;>

                                                          2. Saturday I baked hamburger buns. Today I want to try a Zulu King Cake. I've made traditional King Cakes for years, but this will be my first attempt at the Zulu version.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: decolady

                                                              Share the recipe for the Zulu King Cake if you would?

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                I read several recipes online and am putting it together as I go along. If it turns out well, I will be glad to post it. Are you familiar with regular King Cake, where you braid Danish pastry dough, shape it into a ring, bake, drizzle with confectioner's sugar icing and sprinkle on purple, green and gold sugar?

                                                                Zulu King Cakes appear to made of a sweet bread or roll dough. You make filled tubes that are braided and shaped into a ring. The filling is chocolate and coconut. After the cake is baked it is drizzled with chocolate ganache of some sort and sprinkled with grated coconut. I've got a dough in the breadmaker now.

                                                                1. re: decolady

                                                                  I've never made one, I've eaten some that were sent from a NOLA bakery to my office as a corporate gift. They were more of a brioche dough it seems to me, with the colored sugar and icing.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Isn't this the cake you bury a plastic baby doll in the dough pre bake?

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Yep. The person who gets the baby has to throw the party next year, right?

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        oh, I didn't know about the party part! My kinda cake!

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Yes, there is a baby doll in the cake. Carnival starts on 12th Night. That's usually when the first King Cake appears. Typically there is at least one party every week leading up to the Mardi Gras. The person who gets the baby in their piece of cake is King for the day and hosts the next party. But the party is normally the next week, until you get to the last party of the season.

                                                                          Traditionally the King Cakes were made of Danish pastry. The brioche style and filled ones are newer. And I think the Zulu ones are newer still. I have chocoholics around here, so that's why I'm giving one a try.

                                                                          1. re: decolady

                                                                            What fun! I wish more cakes had a pay it forward philosophy!

                                                              2. I've been into Pear Crisps of late, trying to find the perfect one. Most of them have too much crumb topping and they have been dry. I found Gale Gand's Pear and Cranberry one and it's really good.
                                                                This coming weekend, I will be making Nigella's Cloud Cake. I found it on youtube.com and it looks easy and amazingly good. It's my birthday. :)

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: mcel215

                                                                  It's nice to be in charge of one's own birthday cake, isn't it? Happy birthday.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Thanks. I am really not in charge, my kids do get a store bought cake. But, I like excellent desserts, so I make an extra cake to bring. My family likes to eat dessert, so no one gets insulted because there are always leftovers. : )

                                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                                      Nothing wrong with extra cake! (I like the storebought ones too - especially white cake.)

                                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                                        I have been into apple crisps, particularly Dorie's Cran-Apple one. I will have to try the Gale Gand pear one and compare.

                                                                  2. Clafoutis in my 8" lodge cast iron skillet! So easy and satisfying. My favorite recipe from Saveur.

                                                                    1. yesterday- baked for superbowl party. I made lemon meringue pie and raspberry crumb bars.

                                                                      1. last weekend i baked almost 25 pizzas at kid's birthday party plus those little decoration cakes i was blabbering about. whew...

                                                                        last night, we're getting ready for the week, so i made some wheat sandwich bread and granola.

                                                                        i'm on a quest to find some better bread recipes though. the CI recipe is good but i'd like to try something new next week.

                                                                        not baking but i just saw someone made rice crispie treats with nutella stirred in... yum...

                                                                        1. today i made mini cheesecakes in a cupcake pan and some delicious meringue-like peanut butter cookies!
                                                                          i also made fudge ecstasies (chocolate cookies. they are heavennn)
                                                                          some chocolate m&m cookies
                                                                          haha lots of cookies. they're my favorite to make!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chalkalot

                                                                            You're going to mention fudge ecstasies and not post the recipe? You naughty person. Come on! Spill the beans.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                i'm sorry! but yes, that is the recipe. i don't add nuts though... chocolate cookies should be chocolate cookies!! i've added m&ms too, but the general consensus is chocolate chips :]

                                                                            1. I made the CI foolproof pie crust for the first time this weekend and found it to be difficult to roll out (easily extensible, but really tender). The bottom crust for my cherry pie was all bits and bites torn up by the time I got it in the pan - had to ball it up and reroll it. The top crust was marginally easier to handle. Does anyone use this piecrust recipe routinely? Thoughts?.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Is this the one with vodka? I don't make piecrust often, but I use the CI vodka recipe when I do, and I just try to keep everything super cold.

                                                                                1. re: yamalam

                                                                                  Yes. Everything (except the dry ingredients) was straight out of the freezer.

                                                                                    1. re: yamalam

                                                                                      Other than user error. Going to give it another go.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        one other thing you might try is also freezing your food processor bowl...

                                                                              2. A friend and I made Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake last weekend for a friend's birthday, and it went over very well! We overbaked it by a few minutes, but the cream cheese frosting helped alleviate the dryness.

                                                                                Yesterday, I baked a batch of my own granola recipe - honey vanilla coconut. It's less sweet than most versions, and packed with coconut flavor from both coconut oil and unsweetened coconut flakes. Yum.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                                                  Which Nigella book is that in? I love chocolate and Guinness!

                                                                                  I love making homemade granola too, it makes the house smell wonderful.

                                                                                  1. re: yamalam

                                                                                    Not sure which book it's from, but here's the recipe, published in the NYT:


                                                                                2. I have avoided baking since the holidays, needing time for a reset after that time of excess, but I baked a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate glaze for a friend's birthday Friday. This is the type with beaten egg whites folded in (puffs like a souffle, then falls), so it's not dense, truffle-like, and super rich, but still plenty chocolaty with 12 oz. in the cake and another 8 in the glaze. I knew my audience might not be down with extra-bittersweet, so I used a 54% cocoa content for the cake and a combo of that and 70% for the glaze, making the cake sweeter than I'd have preferred personally. It was a hit with them, and that's what counts.

                                                                                  This isn't a very good picture but it's what I have. The bright light creates the lighter section in the middle that looks like something weird is going on with the ganache. The sugar pearls looked really pretty against the glaze in person, too (they look like real pearls).

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    Very nice indeed. I have a self-proclaimed chocoholic friend for whom I was making the deepest darkest things until he once said "could you make something less chocolaty next time" - the chocoholism is limited to milk choc and choc chips, which is what I now use when making things for him. Oh well.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      So Caitlin, this is not a reine de saba? Also, "it was a hit with them" means that you didn't like it as much as a less sweet, less dense cake? Or what?

                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                        No, not a reine de saba, but a more typical flourless choc cake with no nuts, just chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla. This is the recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                        I would prefer a less-sweet, more intensely bitterweet chocolate cake. This isn't a particularly dense style of flourless chocolate cake, what with the beating egg yolks and sugar until light and folding in beaten egg whites.

                                                                                    2. So I mentioned Cheesecake earlier and here are the results:
                                                                                      Good recipe. No cracking, though a million hoops to jump through to achieve it. Will try one less no-crack superstition every time I make this to lessen the effort.

                                                                                      Kueh Bangkit (Tapioca flour cookie
                                                                                      A traditional Malay cookie for Chinese New Year. Dry and crumbly at first, this ends up melting on your tongue. Scented with pandan, and includes coconut milk, eggs, and sugar. I realized afterward that this is a gluten-free cookie too!

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jlunar

                                                                                        Love pandan flavor - do you have any recipes using the flavoring paste? Have a bottle in my cupboard and so far haven't used it.

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          Haven't used the flavouring paste, but I know you can try it with Kaya (vs fresh leaves). I'll be tackling that particular spread in a bit, as I still have leftover leaves and they're particularly fragrant. I hope that I will have as much success with it as I did the Kueh Bangkit...!

                                                                                          I also really like making pandan crèpes and then filling them with this coconut and cane sugar mix. That one is called Kueh Dadar or something like that.

                                                                                          Pandan is also really nice in agar jelly. Simple and tasty.

                                                                                      2. Since the price of good bread is around $4 these days I've been pulling out all my bread baking books, studying and planning on what I'll make. I can bake bread and have made different ones from time to time, but I'm planning on making it at least twice a week. My sister, got caught up in in an HSN Wolfgang Puck show that was featuring his bread machine and I got the funniest phone call from her telling me it would do just about anything and everything. Well I didn't buy it but she got one for herself. The next Friday, guess what landed on my doorstep? Yup, his bread machine.

                                                                                        I've never been interested in bread machines but I opened it, and read the pamphlet. I made the white bread for the heck of it and to get familiar with the panels and buttons. Then I made whacky cake. Now that was crazy. It came out really good, actually better than when I make it in a baking dish.

                                                                                        My next project is a cuban bread to make the rolls for cuban sandwiches. Mainly I'll let it knead and do the rise thing, then shape and bake the rolls in the oven. Anyway, it's fun and something new and different to try.
                                                                                        Supposedly I can make jam in the darn thing too.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                          pizza dough, croissants, muffin dough, all sorts of yeasty breads work well in a machine. I find it ideal for small batch baking.

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            This has a pretty large pan, will bake a 2.5 loaf. I think it could handle enough dough to make a couple batches. But then again, I've never had luck doubling baking recipes. It kneads really well, I can't wait to make the cuban bread for sandwiches.

                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              I made French bread yesterday afternoon, was delcious. Even without machine, I've made baquettes that were so good, I love good French Bread.
                                                                                              TodayI'm making banana bread with sour cream in the recipe, it's a new one for me so hope it goes well.

                                                                                        2. Made a pear almond upside down cake from Veg Cooking for Everyone on Sunday. Looked simple enough and I needed to finish those pears that were just right. Was pretty good. Almost gone. Oops! :")
                                                                                          Now eyeing cakes for my toddler's b'day party. He is so much into birthdays (and birthday cakes, even singing happy birthday to himself) these days, that I have to bake his party cakes. Not going to listen to those naysayers... Thinking of the Chocolate Birthday Cake from Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes and then Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting. Hopefully there will be better strawberries in the market in another month.

                                                                                          1. I will be baking a handful of little test cakes for a wedding cake i'll be baking in two months.

                                                                                            i'm a little freaked out by all those things i am "testing" because the bride (friend) is not sure what she likes yet. I got 3-4 white cakes (with and w/o zest, 2-3 yellows, marble, spice, chiffon, chocolate/devil, almond, dacquoise, hazelnut dacquoise, lemon poppy seed, genoise, sponge, white velvet... plus soaking liquids and filings- coconut, caramel, lemon/mango curd, ganache, chocolate mousse, bavarian/pastrycream, pralines, whipped mascrapone, coulis, chocolate sauce, vanilla or lemon mousse.....

                                                                                            i got around 1.5 week to bake the cakes and the filing, have it in semi assembled form and make up our minds.

                                                                                            i hope the recipes i've collected works out... and i'm debating if i should make 6" or 4" cakes... i'm assuming cutting the recipe in half or forths needs some kind of fancy alterations i don't know much about. sliding scale anyone?or does 6" just makes moister and better cakes?

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                              I would think her not being sure what she likes yet would be a great relief... You don't have any expectations to live up to... She either will or won't like a particular variant.

                                                                                              As to the cutting down, halving a recipe is obviously much less precarious than quartering it. However, IMPE, i have a larger issue with quadrupling a recipe because you can't just quadruple the leavening. i'd say stick with halving for starters and see how you go... i don't think you'd really have a problem with quartering it tho... JMO.

                                                                                              what a good friend you are! happy yumminess!

                                                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                                                Thanks for the encouragement!

                                                                                                i baked test cakes from the cake bible. the basic white, yellow and chocolate buttercakes. the cakes are delicious, soft, moist and tender- but i'm worried they are too tender to tort and stack as a wedding cake (even though this is from her wedding cake section).

                                                                                                i'm thinking of using her other yellow cake recipes from the main portion of her book that uses buttermilk, sour cream or straight cream and maybe whole eggs (hoping for a sturdier cake). Do you guys know how i should go about adjusting these 9" standards to 14" and 10" inches??

                                                                                                or adjusting baking powder in any other recipe in this matter?

                                                                                                maybe i should split this in a new discussion...

                                                                                            2. Based on a rec from another thread, I picked up a copy of "Rustic Fruit Desserts" and made an amazing Lemon Blueberry Buckle last night. The book is great, so many homey recipes for slumps and brown betties and pandowdies!

                                                                                              1. I've been having a serious craving for oatmeal cookies so yesterday I made monster sized oatmeal cookies with pecans & dried cherries..so very good!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                  pecans and dried cherries and really nice dark chocolate are my fave kind of oatmeal cookie!! ... makes me want to bake some.

                                                                                                  1. re: jlunar

                                                                                                    I adore chocolate in any form; was going to add some to the cookies but was already decadent enough!

                                                                                                2. someone in the office wanted pb cookies. so i made some last night with choc chips. yums!!!

                                                                                                  1. I have my first-ever batch of brioche dough currently aging in my fridge. I mixed it for next-to forever, and I'm still not sure if the dough was elastic enough before I let it rest. I'm a beginner bread baker, so I'm not entirely sure why I decided brioche was a good idea.

                                                                                                    My hope is that will all the butter, the brioche will turn out delicious regardless!

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: tazia

                                                                                                      I'm sure it will - it's a bit tricky to make classic brioche.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        The thing that always saves me with bread is, while it might not turn out exactly like a classic brioche, it'll still be delicious. I've salvaged some pretty bad hack jobs by turning them into "garlic bread" and my family is under the impression I'm a master bread baker, shh.

                                                                                                        1. re: yamalam

                                                                                                          So right! If it turns out flat it's a flatbread! Whatever you get will be delicious and no one else knows what image you had in your head when you picked the recipe. The world's tradition of bread encompasses an enormous amount of variety and forms so surely something fits whatever you bake!

                                                                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                                                                            Yes, I've made most of our bread for the past over 30 years and I can't think of any that wasn't edible in some form. Brioche isn't the easiest bread to get "right" though.

                                                                                                    2. It is birthday season starting before Christmas at our house, with a birthday every month. i tend to go crazy with birthday cakes. Did a Mayan temple ruin for my son, it was cute and he loved it, although i didn't like the fondant/frosting effect. Other son requested a Splash Mountain cake with NO fondant and youngest son is just 1, but all he likes is meat, so we did a chicken bone cake. Had fun making them. Temple was chocolate with marshmallow filling and chocolate buttercream. Splash mountain was chocolate with cherry chocolate italian buttercream and chocolate italian buttercream on the outside - decorations were modeling chocolate and buttercream. chicken bone cake was banana and chocolate cake layers, with banana chocolate ganache filling and brown butter caramel chocolate frosting - decorations are coconut, cream cheese frosting and meringue.

                                                                                                      Other than that, I always bake when we have guests, what we have to use up. Lemon bars, meyer lemon frozen yoghurt, Japanese cheesecake with apple compote and sorbet, purple yam custard with candied pineapple. Love doing plated desserts.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                        jsaimd, your b-day cakes are awesome. The chicken bone looks very real, at least in thumbnail size!

                                                                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                          Holy cow, these are amazing. I'm too impatient for decorating like this. Hats off!

                                                                                                            1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                              Has anyone told you lately? YOU'RE FABULOUS! And you do this just for fun? Color me impressed.

                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                Wowza, by the time your youngest is 8 you'll be ready for Ace of Cakes!

                                                                                                            2. Bought my first little box of molasses the other day, as well as wheat bran. So, there's been a lot of whole wheat and bran muffins / loaves around our house lately. The best have been the mini dried cranberry & bran muffins, as well as the chocolate zucchini bread (adapted from Joy of Baking website) - just with lots of bran.

                                                                                                              My next experiment is an upside down pear chocolate cake.

                                                                                                              1. Baked a cheesecake this afternoon with an oatmeal crust....I'll be making some homemade caramel & toasted pecans to drizzle over the top.

                                                                                                                1. Made the orange-almond-olive oil cake from a recent Orangette recipe. It's a really nice, moist and mellow, not too sweet, cake--great with coffee or tea. Because the only appropriate-volumed springform pan I had on hand is heart-shaped, I used it, much to my 5 yr.-old niece's delight (although she still asked where the icing was).

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                    I love heat-shaped pans. I have my mom's as well as a set I bought before she passed. They always bring a smile to people's faces.

                                                                                                                  2. Made a wonderful dark rye with pickle juice (a first for me in bread) and it turned out perfect! The dought is really tacky, careful addition of extra flour fixed it right up.

                                                                                                                    1. Date Cake with Toffee Sauce (aka Sticky Toffee Pudding) from "The Sweet Life" by Kate Zuckerman. Delicious!

                                                                                                                      1. I have been playing with puff and yeast raised danish dough to my co-workers delight. I have great fruit fillings but I'm still trying to perfect a a smooth nut filling for danish that isn't based on nut butters.

                                                                                                                        1. I've been doing biscotti lately. I like the fact that the only fat they have is egg yolks (and nuts if they're included) (yes, they're usually included ;> )

                                                                                                                          I've done David Lebovitz' chocolate biscotti:
                                                                                                                          http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives... YUM!

                                                                                                                          • Cappuccino biscotti from Joy of Baking:
                                                                                                                          http://www.joyofbaking.com/biscotti/C... the clove completely overwhelmed the other flavors; I'm going to have to work with this recipe to make it suit our tastes but the idea is wonderful I think

                                                                                                                          • King Arthur Flour's Cinnamon biscotti:
                                                                                                                          http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe... took forever to locate cinnamon chips locally; it was worth the effort -- my husband liked them better than the chocolate ones and that's pretty astounding

                                                                                                                          • tomorrow I do dried cherry and pistachio biscotti from Pastry Pal:

                                                                                                                          If anyone has a source for other interesting biscotti variations or recipes I'd be delighted to have them.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                            rainey, I loved these chocolate, hazelnut and ginger biscotti. Great flavor combination. I skip the white chocolate drizzle.


                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                              Merci! They look interesting and I love ginger. I was thinking along the lines of ginger and lemon -- one of my favorite combos for scones -- but both sound yummy.

                                                                                                                          2. Baking is a stress reliever for me. Last month my 16 year old cat was diagnosed with renal failure, so I have been baking up a storm! Walnut, oat and dried cranberry scones, Rose Levy Beranbaum's buttermilk cake, whole wheat biscuits, red velvet cake with salted caramel filling and cream cheese/pecan frosting, cucidati, goat cheese apricot "shortbread," popovers, overnight cinnamon rolls, monte blanc cupcakes, pizza, english muffins, and various pancakes and waffles on weekends. Crepes this weekend.

                                                                                                                            Kitty's hanging in, so I continue to bake my way through winter!

                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                              Sorry to hear about the cat's illness. May he/she hang on for a very long while.

                                                                                                                              Can you post the goat cheese apricot shortbread or a link to it, sounds intriguing. Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                Goat cheese apricot shortbread is from Mary Cech's recipe in Savory Baking. She called them "straws" but I thought the dough was difficult to cut into straws and so made them into traditional shortbread finger shapes, about three inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

                                                                                                                                Preheat oven to 375 F. Put 1 1/2 c. sliced almonds (she calls for blanched, but I could only find those slivered, so used sliced with skins) in a food processor with the blade. Process to a fine meal, about a minute. Remove and set aside.

                                                                                                                                Put 1/2 stick (2 oz.) room temperature unsalted butter in food processor along with 1/3 c. of the almond meal and 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (like chevre.) (No need to wipe out of wash the bowl first.) Process until smooth, then add one egg white and 1 c. chopped dried apricots. Process about 20 seconds, just to make distinct small pieces of apricot. Don't over process at this point. Add the flour and salt and process just until the mixture forms a dough.

                                                                                                                                Sprinkle a work surface with half of the remaining almond meal. Press the dough into the meal in a small rectangle. Press the remaining almond meal into the top of the rectangle and roll to a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick, and 6 by 12 inches. Using a pizza cutter or long knife, cut into bars and carefully lift with a thin metal blade or spatula onto a parchment lined sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until barely browned. Cool on rack, and serve at room temperature. Bars will keep airtight for up to three days.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                    Oh, those sound good. Look forward to seeing how much flour.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                      Whoops, it's 1 c. all purpose flour, sorry. I used 140 grams.

                                                                                                                                      This weekend, I made buckwheat crepes, served with comte cheese, caramelized apples, toasted walnuts and creme fraiche. Then, Carol Field's grissini toranesi, to which I added a generous amount of fennel seed.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                        Thanks! And I'm thinking maybe I should just come eat at your house. :-) The buckwheat crêpe dish sounds delightful, too. And I've got everything I need to make that.

                                                                                                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                  I hope kitty does well - one of ours was on sc fluids for 5 years before succumbing at the age of 19 1/2. Baking (and cooking) are excellent stress releivers in times like this.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    I just hope my waistline can survive! She seems to be surprising the vet thus far, considering her numbers. Thanks for your share, since it helps me to hold onto hope.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: amyzan

                                                                                                                                      Do - our boy's numbers improved with treatment and he had a good life. Hoping for the best for her and you.

                                                                                                                                2. I just did this carrot cake for my daughter's birthday. http://www.joyofbaking.com/CarrotCake... Instead of using oil I substituted butter and creamed it with the sugar before adding the eggs and vanilla. I used some extra pineapple mixed into a small amount of the icing for the filling.

                                                                                                                                  It went over very well but next time I will reduce the sugar in the batter and also in the icing. My family loves carrot cake but it's always been too sweet for me.

                                                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                    Once making carrot cake I accidentally left out a cup of sugar (brown) that was meant for the batter. It was good anyway. The frosting I make,which is cream cheese, butter powdered sugar and vanilla more than makes up for it. I tend to not care for too sweet desserts either, so it was a good mistake.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                      Personally, I think carrot cake is way too sweet too. In fact, I asked for some ideas to lighten the texture and cut back on the sweetness here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691181 GMTA! ;>

                                                                                                                                    2. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                      Rainey, did you sub the butter for oil 1:1? I've been looking for a less sweet, made-with-butter version carrot cake recipe for awhile.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I did. And it was tasty and had a conventional, which is to say dense, carrot cake texture.

                                                                                                                                        I'm making another one this weekend trying some of the suggestions I've had like using 2 egg whites for one of the whole eggs. I will be using slightly less butter this time. And a LOT less sugar.

                                                                                                                                        The version of "lighter" I'm going for is more leavened but I suspect that will also mean reduced calories.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                          I suspect that if you want a lighter version, you may need to fold in a meringue. Egg whites will dry out your cake as an FYI - although they will definitely make it less caloric. If I were to try to get a lighter cake i would definitely try folding in whipped egg whites.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                            But carrot cake could *use* some drying out in my personal opinion. ;>

                                                                                                                                          2. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                            Thanks, I was thinking you could whip the egg whites and fold in, giving you a lighter texture with less fat, unless you want the density. Oh, I just noticed jsaimd suggested the same thing. You'd be making more of a sponge than a rich, fat-laden cake.
                                                                                                                                            The recipe from Joyof Baking calls for 1 1/2 cups sugar, I would cut it back by at least 1/2 cup to start with, and honestly I prefer light brown sugar for this type of cake; I find it adds a hint of sugar richness without extra sugar.

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for letting me know, hope you're well.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                              Thanks. I am getting better. I'm no longer wearing the brace and I've gotten back most of my range of motion. Just have to work on getting strength back in my quads after all that sitting around. ;>

                                                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                Physical therapy? If you are having it, keep at it, it's very helpful.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                  I've been doing it for quite a while and will soon be finished.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                            Have you ever made carrot bread? It sure isn't my favorite restaurant but the carrot bread at Mimi's restaurant is sooo good.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                              Nope. Can't say I have. I've done zucchini bread. I'm guessing they'd be roughly similar.

                                                                                                                                              Never been to a Mimi's.

                                                                                                                                          4. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                            Here's the result of my first experiment in lightening carrot cake: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6911...

                                                                                                                                            I was going for a lighter texture but I definitely took out some of the fat, sugar and calories as well. It was still a very tasty cake. And the texture didn't suffer a bit.

                                                                                                                                          5. Snowed in in CT with a lot of butter & a fundraiser to bake for:
                                                                                                                                            -Clotilde Dusoulier's Very Chocolate Cookies (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/recipes/). These will go in permanent rotation for me, and make me really want to try World Peace Cookies.
                                                                                                                                            -Shortbread from Cooks Illustrated. (This uses rice flour and is a fussy recipe. They did go over well at the event.
                                                                                                                                            )-Chewy Chocolate Oat Bars (Betty Crocker) - I've had great versions of this, but my effort wasn't one of them.
                                                                                                                                            -Lemon Lime Bars - from a chow suggestion. These I had to toss - my fault, I'm sure. The experience did move me to copy down the recipe for Lemon Bars from Tartine, which I think will be much more to my liking.
                                                                                                                                            -Drommer cookies (from a Chow recipe). A very nice example of their genre.

                                                                                                                                            I also discovered that I have - ah - six untried sweet potato biscuit recipes. Guess that's next. :-)

                                                                                                                                            1. Bklyn, NY snowstorm baking: along with the orange muffins from the Brooklyn Cookbook given in the muffin thread linked to the thread on cooking for a work event - made with a Minneola tangelo and v v good - the CI December 2008 sablés which are excellent (made with a hardcooked egg yolk, a unique texture that's not quite as sandy as my husband remembers the cookies made by his German nextdoor neighbors when he was a kid being - the Ur-cookie, unrecreatable, Heidesand are closest but too sweet), pizza last night and French bread with the leftover pizza dough added today. Storm over, still baking!

                                                                                                                                              1. this weekend has included so far:
                                                                                                                                                Bruleed Bread Pudding
                                                                                                                                                Pick a Corner Blondies (i divided the pan into four squares and flavored each one with different toppings)
                                                                                                                                                Vanilla Bean Macarons
                                                                                                                                                Caramel Apples
                                                                                                                                                ... along with a couple of batches of soup, but those aren't baking...

                                                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Emme


                                                                                                                                                  Pick a Corner Blondies sounds particularly creative.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, rainey beat me too it-what a fab idea-pick a corner blondies! So cool, Emme.

                                                                                                                                                    Today I'm baking a poppy seed lemon cake, a blueberry crumble bundt, chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes and green bean-almond casserole. Happy Sunday, CH's!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                      thanks... it's more about sanity than creativity, really... i have people with different tastes in my life, that will easily turn their noses up... one corner toffee, one corner tuxedo, one raspberry and toasted almond, and the last plain... they're so terribly easy, it's a bit frightening.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                        Which poppyseed cake? Blueberry crumble bundt? Both sound great. Care to share?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          I love the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake from The Cake Bible and I adapted a blueberry muffin recipe into a bundt cake...richer, moisture result. Any recommendation from your kitchen, buttertart?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                            Poppyseed I always make the Peg Bracken recipe that a wonderful CHer hunted up and posted - will try the CB. Don't make blueberry things all that often, use the CI recipe when I do - and for cake, love their Blueberry Boy Bait (cake and name)!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              On the PBracken version, did you use buttermilk or milk to soak the seeds? The blueberry bundt I made yesterday also called for buttermilk. Makes such a diff in bundt cakes. I'll have to search for the "boy bait' I've got NJ blueberries by the lb. in my freezer.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                Buttermilk, the only way to fly!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  Oh and I was clean out of poppy seeds so I replaced them with nigella seeds. No one seems to have noticed :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      Nope. Nigella seeds, two full tablespoons. The family loved it. Of course lemon syrup on top was a gooey save!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                        I bet it was good, I love nigella seed. The Peg B recipe uses 2 oz of seeds, at that concentration it would be...ehh...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          I usually use nigella seed in breads like rye or egg bread so this was a first in a tea bread recipe but the lemon really is the flavor winner on this recipe anway...I've got the Peg B in my recipe cue for next week. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                          I never thought of using nigella seeds in a sweet bread. Sounds like a good thing to try.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                    Someone posted this link last summer to the blueberry boy bait on smittenkitchen.com: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/blu...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks Caitlin, I appreciate the link!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Blueberry muffins, Martha Stewart's recipe, has never failed me. I love to make them with fresh blueberries and top the crust with sugar crystals. I'm also weighing the idea of a beef and vegetable stew (it's cold) and popovers. First time for popovers, I'm scared!

                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                              I know, thanks for the encouragement. I've tackled harder projects, sure don't know why I've steered clear of these, it's time!

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                              chef c, whenever I make popovers I read this primer, never fails me.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks HillJ, I didn't make them and the stew yesterday since I have a cold my husband took over. I am definitely making them this week though. This is so helpful!

                                                                                                                                                            3. Does a dutch baby count as baking? Had a little one for breakfast this morning (baked in my #5 cast iron) and it was.... mm, heaven. I'm thinking of doing a savory one next. Those high, crisp edges are just begging for cheese, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                  Right? I mean, how bad can it be? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                  I actually used half whole wheat flour and LOVED it, and the batch I just made was seriously tiny -- just one egg and 1/4 cup each flour and sour milk and a tiny pinch of salt. Honestly, the least difficult thing I've ever baked.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I baked Nigella's Chocolate Cloud Cake today, it was heavenly!

                                                                                                                                                                Here is a picture and I found the link to her video on Youtube.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Last week I made red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream. Today I made some lovely cinnamon and brown sugar biscotti today, my husband ate half the batch. I then made french macaroons for a retirement party tomorrow - I'll fill them as close to last minute as I can - making two different flavors, lemon curd and chocolate truffle buttercream. Next weekend I'll be making traditional Scottish shortbread cookies...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Yesterday I made the Chez Panisse Meyer Lemon cakes in individual cakelets, layered with strawberries macerated in juniper and bay blueberry jam (long story, but the store didn't have decent frozen blueberries without spending $10). Also served with Alice Medrich's sour cream ice cream slightly adapted, I didn't make the cake GF but my husband said the texture was too light for him, and the whole thing too sweet. I should have used frozen blueberries and sweetened myself, but he also said the cake was sweet. Who knows - last week I made Tartine bakery lemon bars and he declared them slightly bitter and meh, while other friends raved. He is picky I guess... Everyone liked the sour cream ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                    Also still working on a good GF pizza crust. My latest had almost there texture for a GF dough, but the teff threw it off. I cook on a 650 degree grill...mmm....

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                      How did you adapt the sour cream ice cream? I made that last summer, and thought it was great just served with sliced strawberries, even made as I did it, with low-fat sour cream and 1% milk.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                        I had half and half on hand I needed to use up, so I used that instead of milk and full fat sour cream. I also didn't measure really well, just eyeballed it of course. I love that you can do that with ice cream!

                                                                                                                                                                        I usually adapt to make it healthier, so this is a departure!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                          I use this recipe that's very similar: Sunset.com/sunset/food/article/0,20633,1665343,00.html

                                                                                                                                                                          The big difference I see is the amount of sugar and sugar really sends yeast into a steroidal rush followed by a coma. Try cutting back on that and I bet you'll have better results.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                            The short answer is they didn't rise well & I baked them anyway - predictably smallish & tough. Cold house maybe. Tired yeast maybe. Bad sugar / yeast interaction maybe. I like the "steroidal rush followed by a coma" description - I bake a lot & I've never thought of it quite like that. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            Really, I'm just baking things that have sweet potato in them. I've been to two bakeries in my life that have made sweet potato biscuits or scones that they have built reputations on - for good reason. I'm a little miffed that I can't make anything so good. So I thought I'd round up the 10 or so VASTLY different approaches to pumpkin / squash in baked goods & start cooking... These were my fourth recipe in two days, and my quick assessment of the situation was that even if they had risen beautifully, they wouldn't have been what I was looking for.

                                                                                                                                                                            It's funny that with all the baking I've done I can't read the recipes & understand what the final thing will be, but I can't. So I just wade in...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, this sounds fixable if you adjust the sugar. Those sound awfully sweet to me anyway. OR you could get a specialized yeast that has a better track record with sweet doughs. King Arthur sells on from SAF.

                                                                                                                                                                              Or go the biscuit/scone route that doesn't rely on yeast.

                                                                                                                                                                              Here is Ruth Reichl's recipe for a pumpkin apple quick bread if you're interested. You could easily sub sweet potato for the pumpkin. http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2005/10... You could do it as muffins if you want an individual serving like the rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                              These are also good and could be made with sweet potato: http://www.joyofbaking.com/PumpkinSco...

                                                                                                                                                                              As you might be seeing, I'm into pumpkin but squash/pumpkin/sweet potato are all pretty interchangeable.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks - both for the yeast tip & for the links. The pumpkin scones are already in my queue. In my regular baking I usually use natural sourdough & not a lot of commercial yeast (although I used commercial in the flop) - I didn't know there were specialized sweet dough commercial yeasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                  Try the Sunset squash rolls with sweet potatoes too. You should be able to do them with a sourdough starter or an old dough or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that recipe you used is just written with a typo for the sugar or just very challenging. Better luck next time. ;>

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                I do have a very good pumpkin scone recipe if you'd like it. Let me know.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd like that recipe. I keep buying Starbucks' version, of course it always disappoints!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                    Belatedly - yes, I'd love it, Chef Chicklet.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                      to jules and thewat - sure don't share this with starbucks, please!

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sweet potato puree - 3 pureed sweet potatoes – not huge with one cup of cream
                                                                                                                                                                                      Scoop I cup of puree in place of usual ½ cup whipping cream in reg scone recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Cups Flour –King Arthur’s is my preferred brand..
                                                                                                                                                                                      2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                      1 egg
                                                                                                                                                                                      1 T vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ tsp sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                      ¼ cup Plus 2 T fine baker’s sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ cup ice cold butter cut into small cubes and refrigerate until needed
                                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup chopped pecans save some for the top
                                                                                                                                                                                      1 cup ice cold puree made with cream
                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ cup of golden raisins - soaked and drained
                                                                                                                                                                                      2 T cinnamon
                                                                                                                                                                                      For the topping
                                                                                                                                                                                      1 egg beaten
                                                                                                                                                                                      1 T whipping cream
                                                                                                                                                                                      Raw sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                      Remaining pecans to top
                                                                                                                                                                                      Cut butter into cubes and refrigerate until ready to use
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl
                                                                                                                                                                                      Cut the butter into the flour mixture with pastry blender until resembles coarse meal
                                                                                                                                                                                      In a smaller bowl whisk the sweet potato cream puree and the egg, and vanilla – add to the dry mixture mixing with a fork, and stir until just combined – do not over mix!
                                                                                                                                                                                      Then gently add the nuts and raisins.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Pour the dough mix onto a lightly floured board and pat into a 7 inch 1 to 1 ½ inch high disk. Cut into in half then quarters and then in eights as evenly as possible.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Place the scones on a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper – this ensures even browning on the bottom
                                                                                                                                                                                      Mix 1 egg with the 1 T of cream and brush the tops with the cream-egg mixture then sprinkle generously with the raw sugar crystals and nuts/and a little cinnamon or cinnamon sugar and pecans.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes and no longer!
                                                                                                                                                                                      This will ensure a moister scone than normally expected.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a gas oven, and I place the rack in the middle of the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: THewat

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have only moderate experience baking rolls and breads and this sweet potato roll recipe worked really well:
                                                                                                                                                                                    Everybody loved them.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. Last night I made a modification of an old zucchini lime cake recipe (I think it's Nigella Lawson? But I could be mistaken). It's essentially carrot cake with zucchini rather than carrots, with a quarter cup of lime juice and brown sugar acting as the sweetener. I bake mine in two round pans, then spread a layer of lime curd in between, and finally frost the whole thing with a lime-enhanced cream cheese frosting. Divinity itself, and not likely to be replicated.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Really enjoyed reading what everyone's baking now!

                                                                                                                                                                                  I just made Flo Braker's lemon-scented pull-apart coffee cake, my first yeasted recipe, it was fun to do, and easier than it sounded reading the recipe. It's also delicious – fragrant, not-too-sweet and light, and the tangy cream cheese glaze is fantastic. I could eat this for breakfast everyday for the rest of my life!

                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: papercup

                                                                                                                                                                                    Congrats on your first baking with yeast! Not nearly so scary as it seems before you use it. ;>

                                                                                                                                                                                    Got a link for the recipe? You make it sound wonderful. But then what "lemon-scented" anything isn't? Tangy don't hurt much either if you ask me. ;>

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: papercup

                                                                                                                                                                                      Congratulations! Now your on your way to making all sorts of wonderful things.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I too would love your recipe when you get a chance, seems perfect sweet bread for a brunch...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                                        Here you go: http://leitesculinaria.com/535/recipe... Enjoy! It's especially good warm...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Pretty excited now I've broken the yeast barrier. Going to order a huge silpat to create a kneading surface and buy some reinhart bread books (sometimes I think I love the shopping for related stuff most of all :) )

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: papercup

                                                                                                                                                                                          Planning on making this for a baby shower. How well does it keep?

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Barm Brack, in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a yeasted Irish tea bread with golden raisins, dried currants, and candied lemon and orange peel, all flavored with ground ginger and nutmeg. It's quite stunning, as it makes a huge loaf that is extremely aromatic -- the house smells nice for days.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                              That's very different from what I make, which is a yeast bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh. I don't know a thing about it. It's completely new to me so I had to google it and that was one of the things that came up. Since it was from an Irish source I thought it might be a good description.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's the Barm Brack recipe I've been using for years and am getting ready to make, along with Irish soda bread, since my patron saint's day is coming soon and yes, I am Irish:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 tea bags, or 3 tsp. loose tea (a strong black Irish tea blend works best)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3½ cups (12 oz) mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins/sultanas, currants, candied orange and lemon peel)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 cup (8 fl oz milk)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp. sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 tsp. dried active dry yeast
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 cups (1 lb) bread flour (use white flour if you want but you can also use a mixture of white and wheat flour, for the Irish touch, 2:1 ratio)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp. table salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                  ¼ cup (1 oz) light brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1/3 cup (3 oz) unsalted butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 beaten egg
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 tsp. mixed sweet spice

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oven: Pre-heat to 350F Make two cups of very stong tea, letting the bags steep for awhile, then soak the fruit in the tea, even overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Proof the yeast in the warm milk and sugar until frothy. Mix the flour, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter and add the yeast, the beaten egg and the spice. Drain any remaining liquid from the fruit, then add the fruit to the mixture. Mix well to make a smooth, soft dough (add extra flour if the mixture is too wet).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead it thoroughly for 8-10 minutes It's nice if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook for this. Place it in an well-oiled oven proof ceramic bowl or round deep enameled cast iron pot, or cast iron dutch oven, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 - 60 minutes; the dough should have doubled in size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Put the oven proof bowl or dutch oven in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the bowl, and pplace it on the rack or sheet pan, bake for another 20 minutes. It will sound hollow when tapped when it's done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Note: this dough only rises once, then is baked in the container it rose in, so select an oven proof bowl or enameled dutch oven, or a cast iron dutch oven, well-seasoned and oiled, will work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Let cool completely before slicing. Good with tea and Irish butter, even smoked salmon.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oooooh! It's got tea in the bread! I LOVE tea and the only other recipe I have using it as an ingredient is a shortbread cookie with pulverized Earl Grey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    When you say "sweet spices" I'm thinking you mean a blend of cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom with possibly some allspice? What I would call my apple pie blend?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks so much for the recipe. It looks like you were using Lahey's pot in the oven method before we knew about it. Would you preheat the pot before putting the dough in it? Cover it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    When's your b-day? I'm 3/16 and my mother's maiden name was Callahan. ;>

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hooooold up, I definitely need that Earl Grey shortbread recipe, rainey. Sounds amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think I also need to make some barm brack, bushwickgirl, since I did not give up sweets for Lent! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks! Can't wait to make these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Your sweet spice blend (apple pie blend) would be just fine, although the cardamom would add a slightly different flavor, but not bad, I'm sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You don't preheat the pot as you are rising the bread in whatever vessel you're baking it in, unless you wanted to try the Lahey pre-heat technique for this recipe. I haven't done it that way but I can't see why it wouldn't work. Baking it in the pot gives a nice crusty exterior, even more than out of the pot. This bread is quite tasty and I haven't found another recipe quite like it with the tea steep for the fruit. No reason why you can't do a double rise for this bread, either. I shape it into a round loaf but it can be baked in loaf pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              For my Irish Soda Bread, I use KAF recipe I got about 8 years ago from one of their catalogues. It's very good and I use currants instead of raisins:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I wrote saint's day, I was referring to St. Patrick as my patron saint, as my real name is Patricia. My b-day is actually in September.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Happy Birthday to you coming up soon, I'll probably mention it again. Any plans for a nice dinner?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Today in addition to that carrot cake experiment, it's bread pudding from some of the leftover cinnamon raisin bread that I did a couple weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Today I did a couple of test runs on some lowfat chocolate cupcakes. I tried a black bean based one and one that is buttermilk based. I am making them for a shower in which one of the honorees is on a medically required low-fat diet. She love chocolate cupcakes, so trying to find a decent one I can top with italian meringue. The black bean recipe was flour free, and while moist, falls apart. The kids declared them OK, not too great. The other one seems dry to me, but holds well. Have to wait for the husband to come home and be my tastebuds, since I can't eat them.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If these are a bust, anyone have a FANTASTIC low-fat chocolate cupcake recipe. Black magic is fairly low-fat, but not quite enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                                            There is a recipe for lowfat applesauce cakes in The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread, from the NYC bakery. I believe they're baked in mini bundt pans. I suspect you could fiddle with that recipe, using cocoa powder, to make a chocolate cake. You're going to want to bloom the cocoa with boiling water for best flavor, since you won't also be adding melted chocolate (with its requisite cocoa fat content) for flavor. So, you may have to futz with the proportions of the liquids, but those apple cakes are fantastic, so I think it'd work. Applesauce could be replaces with baby food prunes, in part, if you want a darker batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                            There used to be a Weight Watchers chocolate cupcake recipe replacing the oil and egg in a cake mix recipe with diet coke. If you find that recipe in your search, I would recommend against even giving it a try. The flavor is bland, the texture dry, and I doubt quite seriously they'd wow anybody at a shower. Just my opinion, of course, but y'know, word to the wise--don't go there!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Made the CI chewy brownies today and like them although they do not do it for me as much as the Malgieri Supernaturals - I think it's the cocoa, I just am not that crazy about things made with it. Also buzzed up some elderly cheddar cheese with a lump of pie dough I had stuck in the fridge (appx 3 oz cheese to 8 oz dough) and a bit of cayenne in the FP, rolled it into balls and baked them pressed flat twith a pecan half on each at 400 deg for 15 mins - about 2 mins too long. They're a bit darker than I'd like but not bad, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I baked with a goose egg for the first time and made Sherry-Almond Tea Cake. It was somewhat comical to crack a goose egg...you definitely have to give it a serious bang against the side of the bowl. Pictures, recipe and details here--brought to you straight from the Land of Steady Habits that is Connecticut:

                                                                                                                                                                                              Recent baking BOMB: I baked chocolate rocks on Friday (Payard's Flourless Chocolate Cookies), which I posted in another thread and already received some guidance. They were the most flavorful rocks I ever tasted, but WHOA, my mistake yielded some real jaw-breakers!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I baked bran muffins yesterday afternoon, using this recipe, posted by dixieday in an older thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3306... Only change I made was to add a grated Granny Smith apple. On some of them, I sprinkled some oatmeal streusel with pumpkin and sunflower seeds I had in the freezer, left over from making an Ottolenghi muffin recipe. I had run out of baking spray, so oiled the muffin tin, and some of them stuck, sigh. They are a success, nonetheless, however: They're not leaden and dense, like some bran muffins, but have a just-light-enough texture, despite containing only whole grains (I used whole wheat pastry flour where the recipe specifies whole wheat), and they are just a bit sweet, with the raisins and apple (the latter which really melted into the batter). And very healthful, with the wheat bran, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour, and just 1/4 cup each oil and honey, though they don't taste too ascetic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipe is from dixieday's cookbook, Honey: From Flower to Table, and I see Chow has reprinted it, though there is a slight difference in the amount of water from the recipe as dixieday posted that I used, linked above: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10743

                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What happened to dixieday, I wonder, the posts were always very interesting and recipes top-notch. I see there's a dixieday2, same person? Don't think so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, dixieday2 is the same person who posted as dixieday in the pre-registration days. Who can say why people drift away from Chowhound and drift back? As for her bran muffin recipe, I'm happy to report that they are still moist and not at all stale two days later. I haven't been entirely happy with bran muffin recipes I've tried previously, so I'm happy to have found a keeper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom had a recipe that you could make up and keep the batter in the fridge for quite a while - made very good muffins (with All-Bran I think). I haven't made any for quite a while but I do really like them. The dixieday recipe is v interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It turned out very well, in terms of what I wanted. I tend to prefer ones that use actual oat or wheat bran vs. bran cereal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Me too, I seldom buy cereal qua cereal of any kind. This was a good recipe though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Salted butter tart, made last night but just enjoyed it much better tonight. Rich and luscious. Next up on my agenda are the CI chewy brownies and the lemon-scented coffee cake mentioned here has peaked my interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jules127

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you try the CI brownies please try the Nick Malgieri Supernatural ones too - to my mind and palate the winner and still champeen. Salted butter tart? Care to share the recipe? Thanks in adv.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Will do! I forgot about those brownies in my mental to-try brownie list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is the salted butter tart. I couldn't get the picture out of my head and finally gave in...


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jules127

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Holy cow, that looks good. I love caramel anything. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I added a thin layer of bittersweet on the crust before the caramel. And I would do it again. Not so with Suzanne Goin's meyer lemon tart I made last week (loved the lemon curd and crust, not the chocolate with it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jules127

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lemon and chocolate, no thanks. I really am not all that taken with Meyer lemons to tell the truth either, I like the plain old regular ones. I think Meyers are my least favorite citrus. (Come to think of it, a blood or Temple orange tart w chocolate skim would be pretty darn good.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jules127

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whoa! That looks delcious! Thank you for posting the link, I can't wait to try this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. For those CH adventureous enough to try the cake w/buttercream recipe by Joy The Baker4, I present Avocado Pound Cake! So good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perfect for St. Pat's!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This too, geez what a photo! Even with cornmeal, this looks soooo moist. Well then that would be the avocado I guess. I can imagine the taste with the nice description given. This is on my "Try Me" list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Soda bread with golden raisins and dried cranberries for St. Patrick's Day. Using a recipe with whole wheat flour, oatmeal soaked in buttermilk, plus some honey. Not particularly authentically Irish, from what I understand, but moist and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made a Soda Bread too - the brown soda bread on epi (only sub was molasses for the dark brown sugar) - but I misread the butter quantity thinking I saw 1/4 c and it was 1/4 stick/2T - realized it when I was adding the buttermilk so added a little less... took an extra few minutes in the oven but it's still deeelicious :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Recipes please? I usually make the James Beard one which is very basic - ww flour, buttermilk, soda and salt. I didn't make it yesterday - I had made the Amy's Bread coarse whole wheat with wheat berries and walnuts, and we had it instead. Now THAT'S a bread, utterly scrummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart


                                                                                                                                                                                                              Toasting the wheat bran & germ lends a nice nutty flavor to this and keeps it "nut free" which means I can still pack it on dear daughter's lunch(she's not allergic but a classmate is). I'm enjoying some with honey on top this morning :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry for the belated response. Below is the recipe I made, except I used about 3/4 cup each golden raisins and dried cranberries in place of the porcini and apricots this time, because I wanted something to have alongside tea, spread with lemon quark - in other words, in the sweet spectrum, rather than savory. It's a good recipe, though as noted, not a traditonal soda bread.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks v much for the recipe - the savory version is intriguing too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, different and good. I forgot to mention that I usually make two smaller loaves instead of one larger, and bake for 40-45 minutes. One can then be given away or go into the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Barm Brack and Soda Bread, KAF recipe I've used for years and it's the best.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I like Caitlin's golden raisin and cranberry add-in suggestion, really not Irish but I must try it sometime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I just baked Ina Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake as a thank you for a neighbor the other day. I was looking for something I could bake in a loaf and wouldn't have to take out the mixer to make. Flavor was great, texture was a bit dense, but not in a bad way. Very homey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Baking loaves of gluten-free bread, using recipes from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Not sure I would call it healthy though (high fat, no fiber), but we were doing a tasting against store bought GF breads and so i wanted it to be a white bread. Overall, I love the method for making GF bread, but their recipes seem bland to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Last weekend made the chocolate chip fudge cake from Elinor Klivans's Fearless Baking, a book I think everybody who likes to bake should have. Good recipes, techniques explained, etc. I was looking for a 9" square cake to take to friends and this one caught my eye. Good, nice with the choc chips (I used half milk bcs one of the friends likes milder chocolate things than I usually bake, would not do so again bcs the milk chocolate didn't do it for me in this). All chocolates were TJ's, unsweetened/chips/pound plus milk. This weekend I'm due to make madeleines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Years ago, I found a Chocolate Chip Cake recipe by Elinor Klivans in the Boston Globe. Great easy cake that was popular wherever it went.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll have to look up Fearless Baking at the library. A chocolate chip fudge cake would go over really well at work!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: allgimbel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can get the book for a song, it's long since remaindered. Worth having. Chocolate chip caramel squares anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Chai snickerdoodles, inspired by TeenieCakes.com, made with a chai spice blend I blended myself. My house smelled great enough after buzzing up the spices, but baking these cookies...I wish I could post a scratch 'n sniff...it is THAT good! :)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I ate three of them already just to make sure they passed quality control, which they did with flying, flavorful colors. Mmmmmmm!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That sounds very good. Love the idea of using the chai spices in place of the usual cinnamon sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They sound delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is the first I've seen of your blog, with the beautiful April Katt photo. I have bookmarked it for many returns!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The chai spice is a great idea - and since I looove cardamom I gotta make some of these (you temptress).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. For ease of viewing, I'm starting a What are you baking II thread - can't wait to hear all about everybody's further baking adventures!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, Buttertart, this thread was getting to be a bit unwieldy. I also am looking forward to a new season's baking adventures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I've been on a bread spin to pair with appetizers, like rye since I smoke a lot of trout, different sourdoughs and flatbreads to serve with veggie or olive spreads.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since Christmas, I've also been on a shortbread kick! I love the wedges set on a pretty cake stand. My stepson had a hankering for doughnuts, and he made the doughnut muffins from the KAF website. Reminiscent of cider cake donuts!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Redirect to new "What are you baking?" thread here:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for kicking this topic off, buttertart! See everyone over on part II!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay! Thanks, kattyeyes. I was too busy and too full of delicious Hunanese food to bake this weekend...maybe sometime during the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I just bought Carole Walter's Great Cakes (1998 printing), from ebay (it was very cheap and 100% of the proceeds went to Goodwill Industries, plus free shipping, so I couldn't resist.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    IIRC, I had this book years ago but don't remember using it for anything in particular.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyone have this book and bake from it? What's good, what's your fav?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm baking a simple pineapple cake with pecans and coconut, with cream cheese icing, for quests this weekend. It's a dump cake for mrbushwick who loves anything pineapple-coconut.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm planning on trying the Arizona Lemon Pie, posted in a recent signature dessert thread here:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I just made this lemon tart from Saveur, and it was excellent.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What I particularly liked about this recipe is that the filling is baked in the previously blind-baked crust, eliminating the need to stir, stir, stir the filling over a burner. However, since I had extra filling after I filled the crust, I did wind up stirring it over a low flame and making some extra curd, which my son proceeded to gobble up. I find that I prefer to make a lemon tart instead of a lemon meringue pie if I am not having a lot of people to eat it right away. The tart keeps really well for a couple of days while the meringue starts to weep pretty quickly.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Looks great. Good point re tart v meringue pie for smaller households (like ours).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Hey everybody, how about posting anything new on part II so this thread doesn't get too terribly long? Thank you!