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What are you baking these days? part II [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 )

Since Spring has sprung at least temporarily in NYC and "What are you baking these days?" has reached almost 250 posts, herewith a fresh start. If you're alighting on the topic for the first time, please do have a look at the original thread - lots and lots of inspiration, wonderful recipes and discussion (chai spice snickerdoodles, anyone?).

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  1. For housekeeping purposes, original "What are you baking these days?" here:

    Looking forward to more inspiration and deliciousness to follow!

    1. Need to recycle some experimental lowfat chocolate cupcakes (not frosted) so I made a bread pudding inspired by the Samoa girl scout cookie. Details are on my blog


      It worked pretty well, but was pretty rich, and I wanted a bit more coconut flavor in the custard. I think i would add some coconut extract next time.

      1. Working on perfecting a chocolate cherry sourdough bread, which means that chocolate cherry sourdough bread pudding will probably be on the menu soon. ;-)

        6 Replies
        1. re: modthyrth

          Is that chocolate-flavored bread dough or a sourdough with choc. chunks or...? Either way sounds delicious (I've had both styles).

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Chocolate flavored sourdough (cocoa powder in the recipe) plus chocolate chunks and cherries. Yum!

            1. re: modthyrth

              That sounds wonderful. I love chocolate with sourdough.

              1. re: drewb123

                I've never baked sourdough chocolate bread, only had it from bakeries. I hope modthyrth will share her recipe.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  I just had to wipe and reinstall a fresh OS on my computer, and haven't imported any of my old bookmarks and documents yet. I'll post back with the recipe, and also note that I found it online with a quick search at The Fresh Loaf when I was originally looking. So delicious!

          2. Yesterday made a David Lebovitz recipe--
            A banana and chocolate upside down cake, it is WoW more than the sum of its parts. (He asked himself why he doesn't make it more often.) I subbed chopped pecans for part of the chocolate. It's "simple" I suppose as baking goes, but the taste belies the ease of making it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: blue room

              I wish I didn't have a banana-phobic husband. This sounds great, I love banana cakes.

            2. Made the chai spice snickerdoodles yesterday - yum YUM, kattyeyes. Love the spicing. BTW recipe calls for 3 tsp baking soda (?) but you indicate you used an Italian baking powder - I checked a recipe for snickerdoodles in the KA Cookie Companion and it called for 2 tsp baking powder, which is what I used. The cookies domed but didn't crackle, is that what they are supposed to do?

              4 Replies
              1. re: buttertart

                Thanks for the catch. Two updates (I fixed it on my blog, too):

                1. I used Paneangeli Vaniglinato per dolci. This double-acting baking powder is also vanilla-scented.
                2. The correct recipe s/b 3 teaspoons baking POWDER (sorry, my typo). The baking powder is a substitute for cream of tartar, which the original recipe called for. But sounds like your cookies came out just fine. Mine didn't crackle either--just lovely, spicy domes. Is that what you baked? :)

                Corrected post here:

                BTW, buttertart, did you roll in turbinado as well? I think that made the cookies extra sparkly!

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  1. Vanilla-scented bp sounds like a great idea, who'd'a thunk it?
                  2. The cookies are great but I love the texture cream of tartar gives - will use it next time. 3 tsp?
                  3. Used regular sugar so not sparkly, just delicious.
                  4. I put the chai spice in with the butter on my mother's principle that the fat carries the flavor in baked goods (always put vanilla, itrus peel, etc in with it too). Works for me!
                  5. Going to use this spice in other things, it's very special.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    In numerical response...
                    2. It has been so long since I had "real" snix with cream of tartar, I'll have to compare and contrast.
                    3. I'm going to remember your "fat carries the flavor" principle--good idea!
                    5. Didn't your house smell sooooooooo good? :) Glad you loved it, too.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      It did indeed. Penzey's has cream of tartar, by the way. I had to buy some recently - finally used up a bottle I bought ages and ages ago - it's not that common an ingredient (was good to the end, by the way). Must post a recipe from a lady who used to help my mother-in-law in the kitchen -sand cookies - they use c of t and bake up crisp, crinkled and a bit hollow in the centers.

              2. Also made Peter Reinhart's French bread with old dough from Crust and Crumb, with 50% KA whole wheat and cooked wheat berries minced into the flour in the food processor. Made a nice nubby loaf, rather reminiscent of the one with soybean bits my dad used to buy when soybeans were first being used in people food in Canada.

                3 Replies
                1. re: buttertart

                  Recipe please? Or a paraphrase, I'm a pretty experienced bread baker. I have 18 pounds of wheat berries that need usin'! :)

                  1. re: LauraGrace

                    I'll look up the quantities and post - you could do what I did with any wholegrain recipe though - had some cooked wheat berries (about 1 1/2 cups to 3 lb flour, you could use more) and threw them in the food processor with the dry ingredients, ground them up in it, added water until it was the right consistency, proceeded with the recipe (20 mins rest to allow the moisture to be absorbed, add salt and 1 lb of dough saved from the last batch - refrigerated for up to a week, frozen for longer - knead, let rise at room temp, knock down, let rise again, form loaves, bake).
                    Another great bread with wheat berries is "Mrs. Elizabeth Ovenstad's bread" from Beard on Bread - you can Google the recipe.
                    Neither of these is going to use a lot of wheat berries though, 18 lb is going to take some using up. There's a terrific recipe from Gourmet available on Epicurious, "Wheat-Berry and Smoked-Chicken Salad" that uses rather more.
                    Or grind some fresh ww flour from them - can be done (noisily) in a coffee grinder.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      There's another recipe that uses both wheat berries and chopped walnuts that you could use all wheat berries in: the Amy's Bread coarse whole wheat one.

                2. I baked with a goose egg again--this time, Tom Goddard's Ginger Brandy Tea Cake. This cake is delicious even if you don't execute it perfectly (see details, pics and recipe here):

                  Even someone I know who generally passes on sweets had seconds of this cake...both when Mr. Goddard made it and when I did. :) Anyone else baking with goose eggs out there?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Couldn't see the recipe post on this? Am I missing something? The cake sounds wonderful, love ginger.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Never mind, to quote Emily Litella. The link was right in front of me.

                  2. Yesterday my son got in the game, and had a challenge to make a lactose free dessert. I helped him create a dessert and he did a really great job. Really, it was almost all him (I just helped him figure out proportions and taught him techniques). So my 8 year old made coconut, almond panna cotta - dairy free.

                    Recipe here: http://breakingbreadwithdavies.blogsp...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jsaimd

                      Bravo! Not the simplest thing to make.

                    2. My friend Christina made an absolutely gorgeous Key Lime Raspberry Torte with Pistachio Crust. You have to see this! Yummmmmmmm!


                      1. With Easter around the corner, I baked (as Nanny herself always did till I took over) oatmeal cookies with M&Ms. Sure, they're just the Quaker Oats recipe with M&Ms in them, but they feel like Nanny's recipe to me. Was your grandmother this cool? Mine sure was.

                        They'd have been more Easter-y if I could have found the holiday pastel M&Ms. I abandoned search after unsuccessfully hitting two stores. Other great add-ins for these cookies are Raisinets...or Sno-Caps (nonpareils). See a trend? :)

                        1. Made Rainey's Lemon Grove Cake for Easter dessert - terrific (posted about it under the "Help a horrible baker for Easter dessert" thread. Also baked the rest of my chai spice snickerdoodle a la kattyeyes dough as bar cookies in a 11x7: added a bit of extra spice mix and baked for 30 mins at 325 deg C. (it was about 2/3 of the recipe). Himself liked them but said he preferred the traditional shape.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: buttertart

                            I gave half of the chai bar cookies to friends who loved them, particularly with tea.

                          2. In the past few weeks I've made multi-grain baguettes, pita bread and olive oil crackers. The crackers were a first for me and they were delicious and relatively simple. Definitely going to have to do that again.

                            1. I've been experimenting with the CI pie crust with vodka - I made 2 pies, one blueberry and one peach. If I do say so they both came out great, I really liked this crust and it was so nice to work with! I am getting over my fear of pies...

                              I've also been baking a lot of blueberry scones (lots of summer bluberries left over if you can't tell). I've been making the dough and cutting the tringles, and then freezing unbaked, they bake up really nicely when you want a quick hot treat for breakfast!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: geminigirl

                                Yum! Do you just bake the scones frozen, then? Do you have to add extra time?

                                1. re: modthyrth

                                  yes, usually have to add a bit more time, I just eye ball them, I tend to like my scones a little on the more done side. I usually do an egg or milk / cream wash before baking with a sprinkle of raw sugar. So easy when all you have to do is pull out of the freezer and bake!

                                  1. re: modthyrth

                                    I do the same with biscuits -- just bake them from frozen with an extra two or three minutes. It's a great way to use up sour milk if you have a bunch of it.

                                2. Pineapple Down-Cake (Wolfgang Puck's recipe) and it turned out perfect. There was barely enough left for me to have a piece.

                                  1. Nice to see "what are you baking these days," part deux.

                                    Was given a 2 lb container of sour cream on Easter and I got two new baking books this week, Perfect Cakes by Carole Walter and Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker. So many choices...

                                    More later.

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      The Modern Baker is a gem, I love his books (A Baker's Tour is if anything even more interesting, international recipes including the only one I've seen in a US book for...butter tarts!). You're going to have some fun!

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Thanks, I can't put it down! Love that I don't need a scale (which I don't have room for anyway.)

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                          Have a look at the weighing v measuring in baking thread (if you haven't already) for some discussion in re Mr. Malgieri's "cavalier" attitude toward the issue. His books are among some of the only cookbooks I take on the subway to read when they first come out (I usually take smaller and lighter novels etc), they are indeed unputdownable.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I've been following that thread with interest and have my opinions, of course, but I don't weigh; did in the commercial kitchens, natch, but large batch baking with consistency is a different style from making a cake or a few loaves of bread at home. Jeez, if I had a scale, I would use it, but I don't.

                                            I just volume measure now, never have a problem, so, who's to say. Is complete and utter accuracy so completely necessary? Life's too short.

                                            I don't feel the presence of any particular cavalier measuring attitude on Mr. Malgieri's part, more like a "this is the option, don't get so hung up, you can do it" attitude.

                                            Enough. Anyway, I'm thrilled to have this book and looking forward to many happy desserts.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              Me either (cavalier attitude). You and I are on the same page, figuratively speaking. Check out that Baker's Tour book, you'll love it.

                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                Yes, I particularly loathe recipes that say things like, "One cup of flour minus one tablespoon." Yikes.

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  I'm not all that big on Rose Levy Beranbaum's books for that exact reason. Weigh your eggs? You do it. I'll trust to the egg graders. (Rose's Heavenly Cakes does have some very good recipes though.)

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Weighing the stuff is precisely why I like RLB's books, though I do not weigh eggs. I detest recipes that call for e.g. 13 tbsp of butter. Well, as an engineer I treat baking like a session in a chemistry lab, except that here I can safely eat the results, whereas in a chem lab accidentally sucking stuff up a pipette ( which I have done) is a big no-no.

                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                      Yes it is very convenient to weigh. I should think your training would be perfect for baking with its need for precision. See, I'm warming to RLB! (Bday cake details below, last post, by the way.)

                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                    "One cup of flour minus one tablespoon."

                                                    You know, I would follow those instructions but be annoyed with the book author, as that's just silly recipe formula writing, and the recipe should be taken out and shot for lack of accuracy overload crimes.

                                                    If you were to weigh1 cup minus1 tbsp, it would be fine and sensible as113.971 grams, or whatever it is, but for volume measuring, it's just, well, dumb.

                                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                      You get that kind of thing sometimes in books that have been converted into US measurements from metric weights, I find.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Yes, it's where that kind of measuring instruction difficulty comes from. But really, how much difference is a tablespoon of flour going to make when volume measuring?

                                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                          Particularly when the weight of a cup of flour can vary so widely according to whether you dip and sweep or not.

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            That would be volume that varies depending on whatever measuring technique you use and what you're measuring. Weight would be constant, when scaled and it wouldn't matter how you filled the cup. An 8 oz (volume) cup of flour is a different measure by weight; that weight will always be 4 oz, (for example) rather than the volume measure, which can vary according to filling method and type of flour. I think that's what you meant to say?

                                                          2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                            A 9" springform would be the preferred size for this, and it all does fit inside! It weighs a ton though, as you might expect. It is sort of like a quiche, but with its own Italian vibe. It is incredibly delicious. However, unlike a quiche, it really does need the top crust. This recipe will also make two deep dish pies, so you could halve it and make a single pie if the size is too large for you. Growing up, we always made them as regular pies since we would literally make a dozen at Easter and pass them out to all the relatives. My sister and I switched to this method about 10 years ago an we now prefer it. I would make this as part of a buffet. Serve it room temperature, although it is also good right out of the refrigerator. Also, it freezes extremely well, which is what we sometimes do when we get down to the end. It definitely deserves to be put on a pedestal!

                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                              Something weird happened -- I answered your questions and it posted above in the thread bout overly specific baking instructions. I tried to move it, but not luck!

                                            2. For Easter desserts, made a lamb cake (used coconut lime cake recipe from Land of Lakes website); Elvis Presley pound cake from epicurious.com; and strawberry mascarpone tart. Plan to work on bread baking this Spring

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: foufou

                                                My husband's great-aunt used to make a lamb cake every Easter. The problem was that the family was too soft-hearted to eat it! It made a nice centerpiece and the birds appreciated it.

                                                1. re: foufou

                                                  My grandmother used to make a lamb cake every Easter, too. I have her recipe (along with many other recipes of hers, in her recipe box), but I've never made the cake.

                                                2. For Easter I made milk and cereal cookies adapted from the Lemon Pi blog. Good overall, but not as "milk and cereal-y" as I would like. But good chewy texture.

                                                  I also made a plated dessert of a truffle cake, photo below. Chocolate mousse, rosemary caramel cremeaux, cherry gelee, hazelnut biscuit, cocoa, olive oil praline soil, white chocolate crunch, chocolate covered cherries

                                                  1. I've been doing lots of popovers lately.

                                                    1. Just made Martha Stewart's glazed lemon cookies. Very good and a great use of the plethora of lemons I've been given!

                                                      1. Before this nightmarish heat wave (current temp in my apartment: 84 degrees and finally falling, thank God), I was making dutch babies for breakfast a couple times a week. I have a #5 cast iron skillet that makes the prettiest , puffiest one-egg dutch baby for just little ol' me.

                                                        I'm in desperate need of some new bread recipes so I'm grateful for this new thread, buttertart! :)

                                                        1. I was really excited yesterday because I made an apple crostata using Giada's recipe and it was looking really great. Then just as I took it out of the oven, the right-hand hinge on the oven pulled out of the wall and the door fell off!! Second Frigidaire oven in 2.5 years that did this. I recently played with Rick Stein's Sicilian Orange Cake recipe, subbing fresh lemons, and increasing the amount of lemon juice in the batter to 4 oz. Also made a simple lemon syrup and brushed this on the top, instead of the heavy confectioner's sugar glop. It was moist and delicious. I spent two weeks trying to make an edible AND good looking kounign amman (Breton butter cake) but wound up with some really ugly crispy caramel doughy things. We're shopping for a new oven and hope to have something by the beginning of next week. I really need it--it's my therapy!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: mnosyne

                                                            Ohmygoodness--how scary re your oven door! And that it happened twice! I have a Frigidaire oven, too, but no issues, thankfully. How did Giada's crostata (poetic!) fare? Both that and your lemon cake sound delicious, btw. Baking--or pretty much any kitchen activity EXCEPT doing the dishes--is very therapeutic, I agree. :)

                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                              The crostata was very nice; possibly could have used a few more minutes. Making the crust in the food processor was a snap! I'm considering making candy or cheese during the ovenless interval. Idle hands, you know...

                                                          2. I had some pepperoni and salami that I had brought into Egypt tucked away in my luggage, so I was able to make my Pizza Rustica, which I always make for Easter. I had to make some ingredient subs, but my son was thrilled that it tasted just like the one I make at home. The ricotta was pretty bad -- frozen and grainly, and the mozarella was not at all like the kind I get at home, but the net result was fine.

                                                            PIZZA RUSTICA



                                                            3 lbs Ricotta
                                                            1/4 lb provalone
                                                            1/2 large mozzarella
                                                            3 eggs slightly beaten
                                                            3 tablespoons grated Parmesan


                                                            1/4 lb pepperoni
                                                            1/4 lb prosciutto
                                                            1/2 lb Genoa salami
                                                            1/2 lb sweet sausage browned in 2 tablespoons white wine, crumbled

                                                            Chop all filling ingredients finely, & mix together.

                                                            Pie Dough

                                                            3 cups flour
                                                            1/2 tsp salt
                                                            1 tablespoon sugar
                                                            1/2 lb butter or lard or Crisco cut into cubes, then put in the freezer to get ice cold
                                                            2 eggs

                                                            Stir flour, salt & sugar together. Work shortening of choice into flour, mix the eggs in and add as much additional ice water as needed so that the dough comes together. Divide pat ¾ of the dough into a flat disc, do the same with the other ¼, wrap in saran and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

                                                            Use an 8 or 9 inch springform pan, using the larger amount of dough for bottom & sides, ¼ for the top. Fill with the cheese/meat mixture, but don’t pack or compress it, nevertheless making sure that there are no air bubbles without filling too compactly.
                                                            Bake at 350 degrees for 1½ hours.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                              OMG! I have got to make this roxlet! Is this like a quiche though? It is just too beautiful for words....sigh. All that fits in the 9 " springform? I guess its deep enough, but wow 3lbs of ricotta, 2lbs of meat, and almost another l lb of cheese, gee that is alot of filling.
                                                              I love to use this same size pan for my quiches, then place it on a beautiful glass cake pedestal stand. Can you do this with this pizza?

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                I'm going to try this again! My answer got moved up thread for some weird reason.
                                                                A 9" springform would be the preferred size for this, and it all does fit inside! It weighs a ton though, as you might expect. It is sort of like a quiche, but with its own Italian vibe. It is incredibly delicious. However, unlike a quiche, it really does need the top crust. This recipe will also make two deep dish pies, so you could halve it and make a single pie if the size is too large for you. Growing up, we always made them as regular pies since we would literally make a dozen at Easter and pass them out to all the relatives. My sister and I switched to this method about 10 years ago an we now prefer it. I would make this as part of a buffet. Serve it room temperature, although it is also good right out of the refrigerator. Also, it freezes extremely well, which is what we sometimes do when we get down to the end. It definitely deserves to be put on a pedestal!

                                                                Permalink | Report | Edit | Reply

                                                            2. Baking falling off in the warmer and then colder weather? As Leonard sings, "The springtime starts, and then it stops, in the name of something new...". T'were ever thus.
                                                              This morning I have French bread on the go and made a version of Nick Malgeri's Pleyels from A Baker's Tour (recipe attributed to Robert Linxe of La Maison du Chocolat): chocolate-nut cupcake-sized chocolate cakes. The original calls for almonds, which are the only nut I don't have on hand at the mo. Used shelled unsalted pistachios, and threw a few whole ones into them to use the bag up. In case of interest - this is my version, instructions differ from the mighty Mr. M's - 8 oz dark chocolate melted in 10 tb butter, allowed to cool a bit; 4 egg yolks and 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp almond extracts stirred in; 1/2 cup pistachios ground in fp with 2/3 cup sugar (i/o 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar which I was also out of), 3/4 c a-p flour and 1/2 t salt until fine - stirred into the chocolate mixture; 4 egg whites beaten stiff with a bit of cream of tartar (my addition) and 2 tb sugar; the egg whites folded into the chocolate-nut-flour mixture; baked in standard 12-cup muffin pan - I used silicone liners which didn't take the full amount of the batter so baked the rest in 4 paper liners in a second pan. My-t-fine.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                By the way, baking time is 10 mins at 400 deg F, 5-7 mins at 350 deg F. The cakes will rise and crack. They must look wet in the cracks when you take them out, do not overbake. My coworkers say these are truly "awesome" (terrible word, but they're 20somethings!).

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Made these recently and they were terrific - thank you!

                                                                2. I've made this braid bread for 2 weekends in a row. The first time I made it with the blueberry filling as written and it was amazing, and so easy. I brought one loaf into work (as the braids are enormous) and I mentioned to them that I was thinking of trying it with a chocolate filling, so that's what I did this weekend. I did a cream cheese base with a chocolate ganache..I just had a piece, still warm and omg....heaven...


                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                                    yum, that looks good. I take it the dough is not very sweet?

                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                      no, not sweet, the filling is what gives it all the flavor, and with the chocolate ganache, omg, it was delicious!

                                                                      1. re: geminigirl

                                                                        thanks I have bookmarked your recipe. I like yeast doughs or pastries that are not too sweet, and then mixing it wih blueberries, or heck any nice fruit. But the chocolate sounds really interesting. Looks imprssive too!

                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                          let me know how it turns out if you make it. My main motivation was to make it just to see if I could make it, and to see if it would look as impressive as the picture, which it did. I was worried about the filling leaking but it didnt, this dough seals very nicely and the double egg wash makes it look good regardles of the braid!

                                                                          1. re: geminigirl

                                                                            will do, I imagine it to taste really really good. I'll make it before we have 3 digit weather.

                                                                  2. Ghirardelli's Award-Winning Brownies (recipe on their canister) with a twist. I usually add fresh raspberries and white chocolate chips. Borrowing from Danna's/Caitlin's suggestions on the Payard flourless cookies, I added 1.5 teaspoons ground espresso...then 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and the white chocolate chips. Breakfast of champions! :)

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      Hmm. My late cousin Clara's recipe for chocolate cake calls for cinnamon and coffee too. Makes a brilliant cake! Somehow more chocolaty than it is without. (Do you keep the brownies in the fridge or out on the counter, with the fresh berries in them?)

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        Think of it as partly Sam Fujisaka's "Magic House" concept and partly that those brownies NEVER last long enough to think of spoiling...they're never in the fridge here. :)

                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          I love that concept. I've never gotten sick from anything I've had in the house - have left all kinds of things out overnight, as did my mother. Boil 'em up real good and Bob's your uncle. The only thing I would be afraid of would be these not getting eaten up fast enough and potentially molding (as has happened to a pie or two I've made, in the warm weather - since we're two we don't wallop through things). Who am I kidding that brownies with raspberries in them would meet the same fate??? (Must try sour cherries when they're in season...)

                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                        Chocolate + coffee + cinnamon = magic!

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          ^^Now, see, where is the +1 or LIKE button when I need it.^^ YESSSSS! :)

                                                                        2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          Have you tried Ghirardelli's triple chocolate cookie recipe? Ohhh myyyyy.

                                                                        3. This morning, madeleines from Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer Baking Book. They're the light génoise style. My favorite recipe for them (and the book is a must-have if you love to bake, everything I've made from it has been excellent).

                                                                          1. This weekend Ina's Lemon cake - I have had fresh lemon juice in the freezer for a while and this just seemed like a good weekend to defrost it... this has an absolutely wonderful lemon flavor if you've never made this before and you like lemons, you need to try this. In the past I've kept one at home to eat and frooze one, it freezes really well, glaze and all...I have a lot of oranges in the fridgel and am thinking of trying orange cake next time, and maybe as a round cake with a white frosting....


                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: geminigirl

                                                                              I should give this a whirl, I have two lemons practically as big as my head a very nice person sent me from AZ. One would give at least 3/4 of a cup of juice. (Used the rind of one in my madeleines incidentally.)

                                                                            2. I have been baking plenty.

                                                                              Did a baby shower with low-fat chocolate cupcakes that were a super big hit, the now infamous lemon pull apart cake and a rhubarb frangipaine tart.


                                                                              Played with cereal milk cookies from Lemon Pi (made them gluten-free). They are good, but really do need the berry offset IMO. best fresh for best chewiness.


                                                                              Gluten free supernatural brownies. Loved these, but it isn't my first time. I think I will try to use a different flour blend next time.


                                                                              Experimenting today with a novel gluten-free cinnamon bun technique. Will bake them tomorrow and let you know how it worked.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                I did the cinnamon rolls, using a wet dough and piping with the filling. I have pics on my blog to show what I did, but basically line one side with the cinnamon butter filling and the other side with the dough. It worked well, although i like raisins and nuts in my rolls. Hard to pipe raisins, but finely chopped nuts would work in the filling with the large tip.


                                                                                1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                  Could you share the recipe for the rhubarb tart?

                                                                                2. Molasses bran muffins, with prune/orange puree, from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours. Terrific flavor. Didn't bake up quite as they should have, due to user error, but still really tasty. Complete report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7028...

                                                                                  1. Using the same base recipe I did for the chai snickerdoodles, I made Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles yesterday. Instead of the cayenne pepper I had seen in the vegan recipe that's floating around, I used 1/2 ancho chile and 1/2 chipotle and also added almond extract instead of just vanilla. Oh, and Valrhona chocolate. It's like a mug of Mexican hot chocolate all wrapped up in a little cookie. I totally love these! See "Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles"...

                                                                                    In other baking news, I made ChristinaMason's easy rhubarb custard cake on Sunday night and loved it, too. It's supposed to be like a tres leches cake in that you pour cream all over the top (after you sprinkle the sugared rhubarb all over the cake)...this all sinks to the bottom and forms a custard. Silly rabbit here read that adding sour cream to cake would make it light and fluffy but didn't account for the fact it added just a bit more volume to the cake...and I had some spillage, but that was user error. It's a very yummy recipe (I'm sure with or without sour cream--I added 1/2 cup to Christina's recipe). It also makes a fine breakfast! HA HA HA! It's also nice because Christina's version is a "cleaned up" version of a recipe that called for boxed yellow cake.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                      They sound great as usual, silly rabbit! I haven't seen any rhubarb in my grocery and haven't been going to the greenmarkets lately, must do so.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        Aww, thanks. I'm a lucky kid--a couple of our friends grow rhubarb and are happy to share with me and my mom. :)

                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          We had a big row of it in our backyard when I was a kid. Rhubarb pie, rhubarb sauce...nice with toast for breakfast. I'm fixin' to put some in at the new place!

                                                                                      2. Yesterday was M's birthday and I had not gotten around to making a serious birthday cake for him over the weekend (we were away for most of it). I just couldn't let him have a birthday without cake, so I whipped up a Maida Heatter recipe from the chocolate book for a small chocolate cake for 2 or 4...4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled slightly, stir in 3 oz softened butter, 3 egg yolks, (1 tsp vanilla and a dribble of almond extract - my additions), 1/2 cup less 2 tb sugar, 2 tb (only) sifted flour. Beat the egg whites with a dash of salt to firm peaks, beat in the last 2 tb sugar (I forgot this...) and bake in a 6" springform for around 30 mins. (My springform is 7" and I should have baked the cake just a bit less.) Ice with a chocolate glaze - we had ours still warm so it didn't get glazed yet. Very nice, very intense, and not very sweet (wouldn't be even if I had remembered the other 2 tb sugar) - very sophisticated. The big deal cake is to be confected this weekend for a continuation of the festivities - our anniversary is the 12th so this is a sort of "holiday season" for us.

                                                                                        1. Christina Mason's rhubarb custard cake is on board for this weekend. Looking forward to it.

                                                                                          I was gifted with a10 lb bag of apples on Sunday, wintered over but very tasty, sound, juicy and crisp, not mealy. I think they are Empire, but don't know for sure. Just googled photos and they are Empires! What to do...lots of possibilites.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                            I baked oatmeal-apricot-pistachio cookies from the Orangette recipe. She warned that they would come out very flat, crisp, and chewy, qualities I don't mind in a cookie. I checked them at the minimum recommended time, and they looked almost burnt. But once cool, they clearly weren't burnt, but very brown. They taste of sweet, buttery goodness (just had one for breakfast--they contain oats, after all), but I can hardly taste the apricot. Family agreed on that point, but loved them anway--and devoured them.
                                                                                            The recipe called for only 1/3 c. ea chopped apricots and pistachios, and to that I added a small handful of golden raisins (not called for in the recipe). I will make them again, but I think I'll up the chopped apricots to 1/2 cup, and I'll definitely chop the pistachios more coarsely.

                                                                                            Having depleted the supply of bread in the freezer, I'm in the process of making a loaf each of Jim Lahey's basic crusty loaf and the pane integrale.

                                                                                          2. We are just finishing off the last of a pineapple upside cake (Alice Waters recipe, slightly modified due to an accident that had pleasing results). I'm going to be nice and 'let' the boyfriend have the last slice . . . mainly because we're out of whipped cream.

                                                                                            I just stumbled across a recipe for leek bread pudding on Smitten Kitchen that I think would make a nice side for our next breakfast-for-dinner night.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                              Paula Deen has recipe for a two layer pineapple upside down cake - you make two cakes the regular way, stack and ice with cream cheese icing. Talk about sugar over load! But for a special occasion, it's great. My father-in-law says it's the best cake he's ever had.

                                                                                              1. re: sarahNC

                                                                                                Hmmm. Pineapple upside down is my boyfriend's favorite. Maybe it's time for me to up the ante, eh? Thanks, Sarah.

                                                                                            2. carrot cake with golden raisins, and cream cheese frosting - rounds, as usual the best.
                                                                                              An old Victoria magazine recipe with a few little tweaks.

                                                                                              1. My next 2 baking adventures are:

                                                                                                Dan tats (Chinese egg custard)
                                                                                                and a green tea swiss roll with fresh whipped cream

                                                                                                1. Haven't posted for awhile...let's see...most recently (Sunday) Texas sheet cake. From Paula Deen's website, and sprinkled it with pecans. Chocolate cherry cheesecake, don't remember where the recipe came from...someplace online...I had a request for it for a birthday, and googled a recipe. A variation of Paula Deen's "Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding"...her recipe called for a french vanilla pudding mix, which I didn't have, and for sweetened condensed milk, which I also didn't have, and I think for Kool whip.. which I also didn't have. Lined the 9x9 pan with Pepperidge farms chess men butter cookies, sliced bananas on top of them, made a batch of vanilla pudding from Betty Crocker cookbook, whipped 8 oz cream cheese and folded into cooled pudding, spread on top of bananas...banana loving grandson loved it:) Will be making "Flower Pot Cakes" from Pioneer Woman Cooks Blog this weekend for mother's day (which to be completely accurate, don't involve any actual baking, but look like a fun project to do with 4 year old granddaughter for Mother's Day) and am also thinking about making a Tres Leches cake, also from her blog soon. Seem to be in sort of a Southern baking phase these days:)

                                                                                                  1. Birthday cake finally confected: The birthday boy has been out of sorts with a nasty sore throat and cough, so I went the soft and subtle route: Cake Bible chestnut génoise and easy chestnut buttercream (which is very easy indeed, 1 c chestnut purée + 2/3 cup confectioner's/icing sugar + 1 cup softened unsalted butter + a scant tb dark rum, beaten up in KA, no muss, no fuss, and not in the least cloying). Moistened the génoise with rum syrup. Decorated the top with some jarred chestnuts in brandy syrup from Italy. Verdict: "this is excellent".

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                      Sound wonderful! A true chestnut lover. If the marrons glacés turn out well this fall I'll ship some your way.

                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        That would be divine. Chestnuts have a big sentimental meaning for us as well - first had cream of chestnut soup at the late great Troy's in TO when we were courting, and they figure heavily in Jiangnan cuisine, the dearly beloved geographical area of his historical expertise. Multivalent. (Should make madeleines out of this génoise for the full effect I suppose, he's also a lover of Proust - which I've never been able to get through!) This cake is good for warmer weather too, relatively light. Will make your chocolate chestnut extravaganza later in the year.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          hey buttertart, your chestnut cake sounds wonderful. I'm going to look this up in the cake bible.

                                                                                                          i picked up a bag of chestnut flour the other day and wanted to make these.

                                                                                                          but if you have a better recipe, please share.

                                                                                                          1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                            Thanks! Those madeleines look fantastic, will definitely make them.
                                                                                                            Other than this (and the chestnut sand cake) from the Cake Bible, I've made a chestnut pound cake and the chestnut-walnut meringues from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert - which is an excellent book with all kinds of intriguing and unusual recipes.
                                                                                                            Would be delighted to hear of more chestnut / chestnut flour recipes.

                                                                                                    2. This past weekend, I baked another batch of oatmeal-apricot-pistachio(-golden raisin) cookies, and after my tinkering w/ingredient amounts, they were better than the last. I also baked a couple of loaves of ciabatta and a sour cream poundcake.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        Well, shoot, please share your tinkerings then. ;) They sound yummy and I have never been able to break away from the Quaker Oats recipe my grandmother always made (the torch passed to me). :)

                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                          Sorry it's taken me a week, but the recipe, w/my changes, is below. I got it off the Orangette blog (but it apparently originally appeared in Gourmet). Except for some minor changes in ingredient amts. and the addition of golden raisins, it's pretty much the same recipe. But the minor tweaks improved the cookie, to us. My husband says he likes these even better than regular oatmeal-raisin cookies, which have always been his hands-down favorite.

                                                                                                          Pistachio-Apricot-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

                                                                                                          1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
                                                                                                          ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
                                                                                                          ¼ cup granulated sugar
                                                                                                          ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
                                                                                                          1 large egg
                                                                                                          ¾ cup all-purpose flour
                                                                                                          ½ tsp baking soda
                                                                                                          ¼ tsp salt
                                                                                                          1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
                                                                                                          1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
                                                                                                          ½ c. dried apricots, coarsely chopped
                                                                                                          ¼ c. golden raisins
                                                                                                          1/3 cup shelled pistachios, very coarsely chopped

                                                                                                          Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (or line with silicone baking mats).

                                                                                                          In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat to incorporate. Add egg, beating to combine well. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing at low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the oats, apricots, raisins, and pistachios.

                                                                                                          Spoon rounded tablespoons of dough (I used a small ice-cream scoop) about two inches apart onto the baking sheets. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking (at about 7 minutes), until golden brown, for a total of about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool and crisp.

                                                                                                          Yield: About 18 cookies

                                                                                                          P.S. Loving your blog, KE.

                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                            Thank you, nomadchowwoman--both for posting this and for your kind words! :) I really want a small ice-cream scoop for baking purposes, too. I'm looking forward to trying these!

                                                                                                      2. Rhubarb banana quark "tiramisu". Played around with cornmeal lady fingers for it. I adore rhubarb and banana together, so it mas my mother's day treat.

                                                                                                        I have a big week of baking for a bake sale. Will report back...

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                          Inspired by your creative flavor combination, I just baked a rhubarb upside down cake topped with banana cake. It's cooling, but it sure smells good!

                                                                                                        2. Will be baking a almond scented buttercake tonight. filled with mascarpone cream and wine glazed apricot preserves, almond praline for a friend's birthday cake....

                                                                                                          still debating my next project for the rest of the week... hummmmmm

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                            You can make me one for my birthday, sounds right up my alley! Great flavor combination.

                                                                                                          2. Last week I made a batch of Whole Almond Cookies -- with whole wheat flour, ground almonds, honey, and butter. They were very good, and full of wholesome ingredients! Here's my recipe:


                                                                                                            1. Nathan's Lemon Cake from Cooking Light - scrumptious! Just sweet enough, and really lemony.

                                                                                                              1. It's a simple two-apple recipe and we serve it straight from the pan
                                                                                                                Apple Cake with Cream Cheese frosting
                                                                                                                1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
                                                                                                                2 cups granulated sugar
                                                                                                                2 large eggs
                                                                                                                1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                                                2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                1 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                                2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
                                                                                                                1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
                                                                                                                4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I had 2 large green Delicious apples)
                                                                                                                Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
                                                                                                                (I cream the melted butter and the sugar in my mixer, adding the eggs, one at a time, with the vanilla extract)
                                                                                                                Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended - by hand. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup toasted walnuts. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan. (I line the pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray)
                                                                                                                Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.

                                                                                                                Cream Cheese Frosting:
                                                                                                                8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
                                                                                                                3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
                                                                                                                1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
                                                                                                                1/8 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                                                Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                  That looks great! I know I'd use at least half brown sugar if I made this - that molasses flavor goes so well with apples and cinnamon.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    I like it unfrosted - so next time, I'll bake with half-brown sugar and a handful of raisins.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                      I have a thing about frosting too, I almost never frost a cake if I can get away with it.

                                                                                                                2. Coconut Tres Leches Cake with coconut seven minute frosting and a side of passionfruit curd.

                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: sbp

                                                                                                                    I'm coming to your house. Passionfruit anything I utterly ADORE.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      Have you ever made passionfruit soufflé? It's something I have always wanted to do as I like passionfruit too. I have made lots of other types of soufflé but not passionfruit....yet.

                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                        No, the wildest I've gotten in that direction was a peach one. Which was wonderful. You still have amazing peaches in Ontario, right? Red Havens (my favorites) maybe?

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          I like peaches but am not a big fan, so can't really answer your question.

                                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        I was in an hispanic supermarket and found frozen passionfruit puree (next to the frozen yucca). Comes in what amounts to a quart sized freezer bag for about $3. Quite a bit cheaper than any of the fancy online sources I've come across.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sbp

                                                                                                                          I'll look for that - maracuja, right? What brand?

                                                                                                                            1. re: sbp

                                                                                                                              Buttertart, I bet you could find it in Brooklyn. La Fe is a pretty popular brand in my hood. I'll look for it next time I go to Food Bazaar, which has a big Hispanic section.

                                                                                                                            2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              This weekend, orange semolina cake, and maybe a few cookies from Maida Heatter, although after a discussion about date bars on the lost cookies thread, I'm leaning heavily in their favor. TBD.

                                                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                When I get settled and get through my mom's recipes which I've had and never had the heart to go through until now, I'll post her date square one, it was a specialty. (Funny thing, Canadians call cookies baked in a square or rectangular pan "squares", not "bars".)

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Hey buttertart, why would you not call something square a square ?

                                                                                                                                  Nanaimo bars and chocolate bars aside, to me a bar is either something you sidle up to or a metal rod :)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                    And by sidle up to, did you mean run for? Or is that just me?

                                                                                                                                    And I like it that the Brits say take-away, instead of take-out. As if there is some sort of mysterious destination involved.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                      By sidle up to I meant make your way to a bar where you would be served your choice of libation.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                        And by run to, I meant the same, only in a less elegant manner.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                          That would be my style, elegance be damned.;-}}

                                                                                                                                          I seem to remember my mom calling certain "bar" cookies squares, apple squares, other types I can't recall, but it didn't seem to have rhyme or reason, as date bars were just that. Maybe it was my dad's influence, as he grew up close to the Candian border in Maine.

                                                                                                                                          Buttertart, please post your recipe when you have get settled in and have a chance.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                            Clear the decks! Bushwickgirl is coming through !!! :))

                                                                                                                                    2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                      It's an American thing, it's not given to the likes of us Canucks to understand. Even a rectangular cut of that sort of cookie was a square in our house.
                                                                                                                                      I'll sidle right up to any old bar with any of you any old time, but souschef, in metal lingo, a bar has a rectangular or square cross section and a rod is the one that's circular (the knowledge a benefit of a year's stint selling wire, rod and bar for a certain aluminum company in northern NY state).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        I have seen enough recipes and references to also be aware that in England and Australia, they are often referred to as a "slice," as opposed to a bar oe square, presumably because you do (slice them).

                                                                                                                        2. Sugar katties! That is to say, an old fave sugar cookie from my mom's recipe box, done up in cat shapes 'cause you expect nothing less from me. An unadulterated classic from the Women’s Home Companion Cookbook.

                                                                                                                          I had a sugar cookie jones brought on by a trip to my local Tex-Mex place that serves them with their adult coffee beverages. Ahem!

                                                                                                                          It has been YEARS since I rolled out dough and made cutout cookies. I'm out of practice, but this was a fun exercise...and gave me an excuse to buy two very cute cookie cutters and the coolest color sprinkling sugar that ever graced my cabinet: lavender!

                                                                                                                          Pictures here for your amusement. I had too much fun making these:

                                                                                                                          See "Sugar Cookies – Recipe and Report Card!"

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                            I love cat cookie cutters. I have one rather small cutter that's a PITA to use, due to it's size, but nice for every once in awhile. Your cutters are adorable. I give you an E for excellent! Bravo!

                                                                                                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                              Thank you! Do you have a hard time with the tails, too? My goal for next batch: thinner dough and intact tails! :)

                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                Yes, the tails are impossible and the ears go to that seal point status pretty quickly. I tend to roll the dough a bit thicker when using intricate cutters, to give myself a fighting chance; my theory being thicker cookie, less breakage. But maybe a thinner dough would be better, I don't know.

                                                                                                                                That reminds me, I worked at a patisserie about ten years ago that had a beautiful copper Cupid cutter, about 6 inches long, very intricate, and no matter how careful we were, we could never get them past day one without breaking them. They'd break if you just looked at them. I don't think I ever sold one intact.

                                                                                                                                I have this one, it's about 2 x 3 and not very delicate:


                                                                                                                                I like this one, but I bet that back leg would break easily:


                                                                                                                            2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                              Rolled-out cookies are my bugaboo - I've only done it once or twice. I have several cookie cutters but never used them to speak of. Two of them are cats (are you surprised) and tellingly the one from the '70s is maybe half the size of the one from the '90s.
                                                                                                                              Re your goals - I think your mantra should be "chill, baby, chill" (sorry couldn't resist).
                                                                                                                              Shouldn't you try to find or confect some BLACK sanding sugar in honor of the divine Miss April?
                                                                                                                              (Kitchen timer is beyond cute - I have a rather deranged-looking pig one I love too.)

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                I had originally opined rolling out dough is like ironing and improves with practice...which is why my mom is so good at it and I'm nowhere close! I've also wondered if the skill skips a generation. :)

                                                                                                                                That's an interesting observation on size. My mom's gingerbread man and lady from back in the day are the large ones intended for frosting and doling out one per child, but I do know what you mean. My new cutters are 4" shapes.

                                                                                                                                I did "chill, baby, chill"...overnight! That was more like "Stone Cold!" The whole thing was a big learning experience for me. I did see dark gray sanding sugar and thought about getting it, then thought lavender looked prettier. I have seen some really cool cookies--baked by people far more talented than I--with black sugar that look fierce!

                                                                                                                                I have a little bit of dough left to play with. Will see if I can roll them out thinner--like my friends at Coyote Blue do. I really am a fool for their coyotes!

                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                  Yeah my mom could make a perfect circle of pie dough (hers was brilliant, she was a real pie baker), mine comes out looking like the map of Australia or China most of the time (when it doesn't look like that of Uruguay)!
                                                                                                                                  My MIL's sugar cookies are maybe 3/16th inches thick at most (detailed ones, Christmas trees and whatnot, not just rounds), I don't know how she does it. She swears by a stockinette-covered rolling pin and a pastry cloth.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                    Kudos to you fancy cookie bakers. (Those kitty cookies are darling, KE.) I have an assortment of cookie cutters, large and small, but I have never made rolled dough, cut-out cookies. The most I have used these for is decorating pie crusts w/cut-outs of the extra pastry.

                                                                                                                              2. Currently I have made Martha Stewart's recipe for brownie cookies to satisfy my weekly chocolate craving.

                                                                                                                                In terms of getting into the world of cake baking (which in itself is a bad idea for people like myself who live by themselves!) I just attempted the New York Times recipe for the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake and I must say its a gooey mess of deliciousness!!

                                                                                                                                1. Orange cornmeal cake, adapted from a lemon cornmeal cake recipe posted here by morwen. Nice texture, quick to put together, moist with the glaze, but not "orangy" enough, which I thought might be an issue, regardless of adding in extra orange zest. I don't have orange oil. I did use a little lemon juice in the glaze to enhance the tartness. Mrbushy mentioned that it tasted like orange-flavored cornbread, what does he know.
                                                                                                                                  Mm, not exactly the response I wanted for what was obstensibly a cake. He did have two peices, though.

                                                                                                                                  Back to the drawing board. I have an olive oil-based orange semolina recipe to try next.

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                    For the orange cornmeal cake to be more orangey you could try the technique used in The Cake Bible's Golden Grand Marnier Cake: As soon as you get the cake out of the oven, poke it all over and then brush it with a syrup made of orange juice, sugar, and Grand Marnier. Then after it cools 10 minutes turn it out and brush it with more syrup.

                                                                                                                                    Of course this all depends upon the texture of the cake to start with; it could well end up soggy.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                      Yup, thanks, considered that using a liquor like Gran Marnier would be better than just a orange juice and sugar glaze. None of that in my house right now either. I should have listened to my own good judgement and gone out for a nip.

                                                                                                                                      Run to the bar, no sidling ;-))

                                                                                                                                      The cake had a coarse texture, not unlike cornbread, and the glaze served to moisten it nicely. It just needed an oomph of flavor.

                                                                                                                                      Anyway, next time...I'm not giving up.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                      There was an upside-down blood orange and cornmeal cake on the cover of Bon Appétit this winter, wasn't there? Answers own question, except it's polenta: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                                                                      This looked awfully good and should be very orangey - no need to limit it to blood oranges I shouldn't think.

                                                                                                                                    3. It's bake sale season. Baking up a storm, but hope to have time to post pics and/or recipes soon. Last weekend it was:

                                                                                                                                      Banana S'more Cake
                                                                                                                                      Pierre Herme Lemon Cream Tart (that is an incredible dessert)
                                                                                                                                      Passionfruit Chocolate Mousse cake take I
                                                                                                                                      Almond Cajeta Chocolate Tartlets
                                                                                                                                      Mini Momofuku Crack Pies
                                                                                                                                      Snowball Marshmallows (strawberry coconut coated)

                                                                                                                                      This week it is:
                                                                                                                                      Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (gluten free and gluten-full versions)
                                                                                                                                      Passionfruit Chocolate Coconut mousse cakes - much more refined recipe, a keeper
                                                                                                                                      Salted Caramel Tartlets (gluten free and gluten-full versions)
                                                                                                                                      And finally a final battle between 2 popular gluten-free flour blends making World Peace cookies - haven't baked them up to find the winner. I have done side by sides with cakes, rolled sugar cookies, biscuits before.

                                                                                                                                      21 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                          Pretty impressive, isn't it? Not my mom's bakesale goodies. I hope to see photos/ recipes posted soon, especially the passionfruit chocolate mousse cake.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                            Indeed. Almost every bakesale I've ever been to/involved in featured several versions of the same (boxed mix) brownies, dry cupcakes, rice krispie treats, and from-the-roll choc. chip cookies. jsaimd is really upping the ante!

                                                                                                                                            One of my many fantasies is to open a small shop called Bakesale!, featuring treats along the lines of those on jsaimd's list, with a hefty percentage of the proceeds going to worthy causes. (Not that I'm much of a baker, but, hey, it's a fantasy.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                              Pretty remarkable line up of desserts! I know it's a common combo, but personally I find most strong citrus flavors clash with chocolate. I do SO want recipes for all of these, though. Just read the lemon tart recipe -- hadn't occurred to me to add the butter in a blender: brilliant!

                                                                                                                                              PS: I too go nuts about school bake-sales these days. Half the people bring in a box of Chips Ahoy or Entemanns. If you're going to just mark up the cost of a box of store-bought, you might as well just put out a collection jar and just take money. In my mind the point of a bake sale is a 2 way street: the baker puts in the effort to make something special, the purchaser donates to a cause and gets something special. Taking away the former is a cheap way out.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sbp

                                                                                                                                                That's very sweet, I have the fantasy of being a great baker too. I just started a couple years ago, and I figure I have quite a bit of work ahead of me. I agree with you, I can't wrap my head around citrus and chocolate, however.... i did love those little dark chocholate sticks with the orange centers...but not lemon, no.

                                                                                                                                                Souschef menitoned passionfruit and chocolate, I can't wait to try that.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                  I wasn't thinking of passionfruit and chocolate together, but now that you mention it, that would be an intriguing combination - a passionfruit truffle, perhaps ? I should mention it to my favourite chocolatier to see what she comes up with.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                      Had a white chocolate passionfruit truffle a while back. Totally wonderful. Would imagine dark would be great too. Love chocolate and orange, are you (souschef as a fellow Ontarian) by any chance old enough/was distribution wide enough I wonder for you to remember a frozen treat of my childhood, "chocolate soldiers", tart orange sherbet bars dipped in dark choc?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        Hey, there you are buttertart ! Was wondering where you had gone to.

                                                                                                                                                        I am definitely old enough, but do not remember that treat. I love chocolate and orange too. If you have not made it yet, you should make the Golden Grand Marnier Cake from The Cake Bible. It is moistened with orange juice and GM after baking, then glazed with chocolate, if you wish, but is great as is. I even shipped one to a friend in Germany, first making sure that there was enough GM in it to preserve it !

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                          This sounds wonderful. I often make madeleins with fresh orange zest and GM and then dip one side in my best dark chocolate. Not as glorious as this cake, but a little smidge of the same kind of love. Orange and chocolate definitely a match.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                  I take part in a charity bake sale at Christmas every year, and always make the same stuff - variations of a prune and Armagnac loaf from Alice Medrich's "Cocolat" book. I make them in Bundt pans, with variations such as rum and raisin, chocolate and Kahlua, etc.

                                                                                                                                                  I spend the day before the sale baking as many cakes as I can. Attached is a picture taken one year when I made 10 cakes.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                    I need to hang out at better bakesales!

                                                                                                                                                    Those loaves sound wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                      Niiiiiiice! Thank you so much for posting your photo! just beautiful, what a lovely combination, I'm sure these flew off the table!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for pointing to that recipe, love prunes and Armagnac, jointly and severally.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it is. An excellent suggestion in the recipe is to serve the chilled cream in room temperature pastry crust; the small and subtle contrast in temperature that makes a world of difference in the outcome.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                      That's one I've wanted to make for years, looks divine.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        Yes it is. Make it. It is really good, and very easy to make as long as you have a thermometer to add the butter at the right time - You can actually add it when the curd is a bit cooler, but not hotter.

                                                                                                                                                        The key is that the butter doesn't melt, but when chilled melts in your mouth. Yumm...

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                    Holy cow! Very impressive. Tips on prepping the crack pie as tartlets? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      Well they tasted good (rich though, I only had one bite), but they didn't have the right texture. I used shallow pans, and needed to reduce the oven temp quite a bit - didn't do that in all the hustle of that day...

                                                                                                                                                      The crumb crust is a bit loose to deal with, but my husbands hot hands worked better than my cold ones to get a thin crust.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                      Yes indeed!I really want to see the snowball marshmallows, please please post your photos!

                                                                                                                                                    3. Chocolate tartlets from mytartlette.com and marbled chocolate banana breads (made w half whole wheat flour & plain yogurt - lunch box snacks).

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                        I really like the idea of marbled chocolate banana bread. Going to have to try that sometime.

                                                                                                                                                      2. blueberry scones
                                                                                                                                                        and a cake that goes by the mysterious name "3 egger"
                                                                                                                                                        i found it in my grandmother's old cookbook. made with self rising flour and, you guessed it, three eggs. very simple and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Finally got up a post on the s'more banana cake


                                                                                                                                                          Will post pics soon on the other stuff

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                            Slowly but surely: Chocolate passion fruit mousse cake. More pics and recipe here:


                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                              That's just lovely! Did you say you made that for a bake sale? I want to go to your bake sales!!

                                                                                                                                                              It's doesn't seem that difficult to do, just a little time consuming and some assembly, and I believe the end result would be so worth the effort. Thanks for posting that. The cake would be for a very special occasion.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jsaimd

                                                                                                                                                                omg! beautiful! You have to be a professional baker, this is out of my league.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I made the light brioche burger buns from Smitten Kitchen blog, they came out perfectly and I am still glowing with pride 3 days after I made them....

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kookiegoddess

                                                                                                                                                                I love Smitten Kitchen, and those look so good. I was planning on cheese-stuffed burgers later in the week. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                              2. During our Great Trek West (from NY to NJ, still a work in progress) I came across a box of my mom's recipes - mostly for baked goods (main courses were pretty plain - but good, from excellent-quality ingredients - in our house, meat, potato, 2 veg), in her hand and those of her friends and relatives (some signed, some recognizable by handwriting, almost none dated, unfortunately). Going through them is such a joy. Found a page torn out from the (Toronto) Star Weekly ca 1959 with Christmas cookie recipes using Chipits (the Canadian brand of morsels), one of which I remember making with her when I was little (meringue snowdrops). Plan to share some of the best here and to photocopy all for family.
                                                                                                                                                                And in the same box: her butter tart pan!

                                                                                                                                                                1. An olive oil cake with bittersweet chocolate chunks and fresh rosemary. Really, really nice. The flavors work very well, and the cake comes together easily by hand. I posted more details here, on the Good to the Grain thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7028...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. First things in the new place: traditional white bread from The Art and Soul of Baking (a new recipe to me, good one) and a plain but good chocolate cake from my cousin Clara's recipe: 1/2 c cocoa (plain old) dissolved in 3/4 c boiling water with a tsp of espresso powder (can use brewed coffee instead of water), cooled; 1 c cake flour sifted with 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp soda, 1/2 tsp salt; add the cocoa mixture, 3 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 c veg oil or clarified butter, and 3/4 c sugar to the flour, whisk smooth; beat 3 egg whites to firm peaks with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, add 1/4 c sugar bit by bit; fold this in 3 or 4 parts into the flour mixture. Bake at 325 deg f for about 1/2 hour - makes a 3" deep cake in an 8" pan (I have a deep one), or 2 8" layers, or a nice 9" springform cake. Good iced or with confectioner's sugar sprinkled on it or with whipped cream on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      Dear Buttertart: Could we please start Part III? This one is getting really long!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Just came up with a vegan recipe for peanut butter cookies with sweetened cacao nibs. They're soft, with a little crunch from the nibs.

                                                                                                                                                                      Peanut Butter Cacao Cookies

                                                                                                                                                                      1 1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 tsp. baking soda
                                                                                                                                                                      1/4 tsp. sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 C. smooth natural peanut butter
                                                                                                                                                                      1/2 C. agave syrup
                                                                                                                                                                      3 Tbsp coconut oil
                                                                                                                                                                      1/4 C. sweetened cacao nibs
                                                                                                                                                                      1 tsp. vanilla extract

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Preheat oven to 350F.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. In another bowl, combine peanut butter, agave syrup, coconut oil, sweetened cacao nibs, and vanilla. Whisk to incorporate the coconut oil completely.

                                                                                                                                                                      4. Add the peanut butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until all the flour is absorbed. Let sit for 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                      5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop two-tablespoon scoops of dough onto cookie sheets, spacing evenly (you'll end up with about 18 cookies).

                                                                                                                                                                      6. Bake for ten minutes, remove from oven, and let cool for two minutes while still on cookie sheets. Transfer cookies to cooling rack and let cool.

                                                                                                                                                                      Nutrition Information

                                                                                                                                                                      Serving Size: 1 cookie

                                                                                                                                                                      Calories: 136 Fat: 6.7g Carbs: 17.3 Fiber: 2.5 Protein: 2.7