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What are you baking these days? Part III [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 )

Almost hit 200 on Part II, mnosyne reminded me ;-) to start a new one for ease of access. So, those of you in presently cooler climes, those of you who crank up the AC to counteract the oven, and those of you who bake regardless of how hot it gets in the house...what are you baking these days?

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  1. Friend's birthday tomorrow. I'm making her a strawberry cake that I originally saw on Chowhound. I wanted to avoid using flavored gelatin, but the blogs I've read say strawberry cakes made without it lack that intense berry flavor. So I am going with it...only...it'll be raspberry jello. I went to two stores and couldn't find anything else. Thanks, Deutschland.

    I'm following this recipe, which was posted elsewhere on CH:

    Strawberry Cake

    2 cups Self rising Flour
    3 eggs
    1 cup Vegetable Oil
    1 Cup Sugar
    1 Pkg. Strawberry Jello
    1/2 cup Buttermilk
    1 1/4 cup of Strawberries , Pureed

    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 in round pans. Sift flour into a bowl, set aside in another bowl beat eggs then add oil, sugar, gelatin, and buttermilk. stir untill well blended. Add flour to the mixture and blend. Drain 1/4 cup of juice from berries and save for icing. fold in berries . pour in pans and bake for 25 to 30 min, or till browned. Turn out on a rack to cool.


    1/4 lb. butter, softened
    1 pkg. (8oz) Cream cheese
    1/4 cup berry Juice
    1 1 lb box Powdered Sugar

    Mix all until creamy and well blended.

    3 Replies
      1. re: ChristinaMason

        I made this yesterday, but as cupcakes. Turned out very nicely! Topped each cupcake with a slice of strawberry & brought them into work.

        1. re: jenscats5

          Mine didn't turn out so great. I couldn't find strawberry gelatin, so I had to sub. raspberry. Weird combination of flavors, and it tasted distinctly "fake" to me. I am not sure if the strawberry would be better, but probably. I also had problems with getting one of my layers to bake through.

          Ah, baking. I'll stick with my single layer chocolate cakes for a while. Hard to screw up!

      2. I had a bunch of egg whites in the fridge, so I made some Financiers using a recipe on CH. Perhaps I overmixed, but I got only 17 instead of the 24 you are supposed to get, or maybe my mini-muffin pan was too large. I was not overly impressed with the results; they seemed a bit too chewy. They were also unevenly baked; I don't think I needed the baking sheet under the muffin pan. Oh well, another try the next time I have egg whites - should not be too long as I keep making sabayon to help the wifey's sick throat!

        16 Replies
        1. re: souschef

          How many egg whites does the recipe use? I have a jar of them lurking in the freezer that I imported from NYC to my new kitchen, child of Depression-era parents, couldn't bring myself to throw them out. (Sabayon on a sore throat: no wonder she keeps you around ;-)

          1. re: buttertart

            It uses 6 egg whites.

            The financiers taste much better today; I got impatient yesterday and ate them right out of the oven. I will definitely make them again. I want to see them uniformly brown all over.

                1. re: souschef

                  Back in the late 80's/early 90's, the restaurant Montrachet in NYC made amazing financiers. At one point I had their recipe - they used almond flour (from Bazzini's down the street). Think you inspired me to make them again.

                  1. re: sbp

                    A slew of sabayons left me with egg whites, so I made them again, this time increasing the quantity of the ingredients by 1/3 so I was able to fill all 24 molds.

                    I left out the baking tray on the bottom, and they got nicely browned, but I am not too crazy about the taste or texture, and they seem a bit too oily, perhaps because there is a lot of butter in them.

                    Oh BTW I saw almond flour in an Italian deli, and used that instead of the sliced almonds as the guy in the store said that it was just very finely ground almonds.

                    1. re: souschef

                      I often have some almond flour in my freezer, and I really wish all the recipes that ask you to finely grind whole/slivered/sliced almonds would give a weight or measure for the almonds once ground so I could use the preground stuff I have. Some do, but most don't. Also, even when I don't have the flour, I could then use whatever sort of almonds I already have on hand. For the latter reason, I appreciate when they give a weight of almonds before processing, though weights for pre- *and* post- would be most helpful.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        The solution to that is easy - when in that situation I pull out (you guessed it) ...... Ta Daaah! ...... The Cake Bible. The "Ingredients" section has weights of a variety of ingredients in various forms.

                        1. re: souschef

                          Oh, good reminder! Unfortunately, my copy is currently in storage, but I may pull it out next time just to have that info handy. I know I can find it on the web, but I've seen enough conflicting info there not to blindly trust. I'd trust RLB's measurments, though.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Anyone who would have you weigh egg yolks/whites for accuracy is a stickler and a half.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Well, when I made those sabayons I just chucked the whites into a jar and lost count, so weighing them was the best way to get the number of whites I needed.

                              Yes, I know I should freeze them individually, but I knew I was going to need them within a few days, so did not.

                              1. re: souschef

                                I know, I'm planning to use some of them I have frozen and am glad of the weight measurement information. I've lightened up on RLB since your advocacy.

                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          Caitlin: Do you have almond flour or almond meal? I buy the meal in the cooler near the bulk bins at Berkeley Bowl. I think it's more grainy that almond flour.

                          Also, I've never had much success grinding my own almonds. The food processor doesn't get them fine enough (Cuisinart) and blender is just too much trouble - bottom gets almost gummy and top has chunks. A pain to keep dredging up the finely ground ones and letting the pieces get down to the blade. Or maybe I have a defective blender. It IS very old, but it is a Waring and has never given me trouble before.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            You will never be able to grind almonds at home as finely as they do commercially.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              I buy the same almond meal as you, though on occasion I've bought it from TJ's.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Aaagh another mention of Berkeley Bowl! (sticking fingers in my ears and humming loudly) You are so lucky out there in that finest of all college towns.

            1. Had some friends over for cards on Sunday night and couldn't resist making pineapple upside-down cake in my cast iron skillet. It's from my family cookbook and is printed with the following commentary by my Great-aunt Lil: "This was real good in 1950, '51, '52 especially during a game of Canasta, when Jim [my granddad] or Doc [Lil's husband] announced they were hungry. Then Pinky [my grandma] and I started in." Isn't that priceless? :)

              Anyhow, it's a pretty standard recipe (though I do use butter rather than the specified shortening/margarine) but turns out perfectly every time! One card-playing guest downed darn near half the cake. I'm happy to post the recipe if anyone's interested.

              10 Replies
              1. re: LauraGrace

                Adorable. Brings back memories of my family in the late 50's and early 60s. Please do, in direct transcription if possible (since it's your great-aunt's and not copyrighted I expect). I love seeing notes like that on my mom's recipes (I unearthed them during my move and am so happy to see them again.)

                1. re: buttertart

                  Your wish is my command, buttertart! Copied verbatim from my family cookbook (my notes in parentheses):

                  Put 1 c. brown sugar in the bottom of a #10 cast iron skilled - 1/2 oleo (I use butter) dotted on sugar - drain a can of pineapple slices (I reserve the juice) - place on sugar

                  1 1/2 c. flour (see my notes at the bottom)
                  2 t. baking powder
                  1/3 c. shortening (again, I use butter)
                  1 c. sugar
                  1/2 t. salt
                  2/3 c. milk

                  Beat 2 minutes. Add 1 egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour over pineapple. Bake 20-30 mins at 350.

                  My notes: This was originally a typical WWII one-bowl economy/dinette cake, with few rationed ingredients like eggs and butter. Living as I do without ration books, I increase the flour to 2.5 cups, increase the butter in the cake to 1/2 cup, and add another egg. I also add a splash of vanilla, and sour the milk with 1/3 cup of the reserved pineapple juice before adding. I use the creaming method rather than beating everything together.

                  I tell you what, so many family cookbooks nowadays are just dire collections of jello salads and cream-of-alligator soup casseroles, but I'm sure blessed with a good one. So many 100-year-old classic Midwest recipes, creative ones from the Depression, oh, and the *candy* recipes! Sigh. It's a real treasure. It even includes a copy of my great-grandparents' marriage certificate from 1902, with the following aphorism on the back (too sweet not to share):

                  The Ornament of a home is Cleanliness,
                  The Honor of a home is Hospitality,
                  The Blessing of a home is Piety,
                  The Happiness of a home is Contentment.


                    1. re: LauraGrace

                      I'm going to try this too. Thanks.
                      How great to have a family cookbook and a good one at that. Love the sentiment and nostalgia factor. Curious, what kind of sigh-worthy candy did your family make?
                      Cream of alligator soup; really?

                      1. re: Island

                        My grandmother's peanut brittle, my mother's English toffee. Plus fudge, divinity, all sorts of wonderful things!

                        Oh, "cream of alligator soup casserole" is just one of my many nicknames for those gloppy cream-of-(chicken/celery/mushroom) soup-based casseroles that make up such a big portion of so many cookbooks of a certain era. I have another cookbook put out by a church, and it is FULL of stuff like that -- thirty variations of "Mix 1 jar cheez wiz, 2 cans cream-of-whatever, 1 envelope french onion soup mix, 8 heaping tablespoons of salt, a stick of margarine, ten drops yellow food coloring, and cubed chicken breasts in a casserole dish, top with canned green beans, crushed potato chips/tater tots/both, bake at 350 for 2 hours or until chicken is completely dessicated. To make it extra special use Mexican-style cheez wiz or add a scant 1/8 t. of the curry powder you got from the A&P fifteen years ago and haven't opened since."

                        Haha! :)

                        1. re: LauraGrace

                          Toffee and fudge mmmmm yum! Love em both.

                          Oh funny. "Hot dish" as my husband would call it. He grew up on those versions of alligator soup casseroles and I don't think he's nostalgic for any!

                          1. re: Island

                            Oh, I definitely grew up on them too! And share your husbands non-nostalgia for them... ;)

                            The ladies at my church growing up made the same casserole for every funeral, to the point that it's simply referred to now as "funeral casserole" -- and it literally is hamburger, cream of mushroom soup, and canned green beans, topped with tater tots and sprinkled *liberally* with Lawry's seasoned salt! I can feel my arteries hardening just thinking about it! Tee hee!

                            1. re: LauraGrace

                              What a riot LauraG! Makes you wonder if funeral casserole can kill.

                          2. re: LauraGrace

                            LG, that is hilarious and so accurate, too. I love those cookbooks but mostly for the entertainment value. The curry powder comment cracked me up!

                        2. re: LauraGrace

                          LauraGrace, this is a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

                    2. Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. I used the recipe right from the Ghirardelli canister for the brownies, then used the rest of my first batch of native strawberries (1/3 cup) to make a strawberry cheesecake batter and swirled it into the brownie batter.

                      buttertart, I know you think Malgieri's brownies lead the pack, but Ghirardelli's remain my go-tos. By the way, I DON'T add nuts and chocolate chips to mine...they are plenty delicious without them.


                      You can't tell from the pics, but the cheesecake part had an ever-so-slightly pink hue.

                      This week I've gotta go classic, though, and make shortcake biscuits for the first batch of native berries we pick ourselves. And yes, for the first time, I'll do it without Bisquick (the way I grew up eating shortcake biscuits and how my mom still makes them).

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Ok ok kattyeyes, I'll try yours (the G ground chocolate in a canister, right?) - but you're transgressing upon 2 of my my deeply-held tenets:
                        1. Strawberries do not go with chocolate in any way, shape, or form.
                        2. Native strawberries? Must be eaten as is immediately while alone so nobody else gets any. (But I bet your brownies are dreamy nonetheless.)
                        (One of the two or three best desserts of my life was a wild strawberry sorbet on a crisp meringue with wild strawberries on top, at L'Angle du Faubourg in Paris. Those Taillevent folks make some dynamite fruit desserts - white peaches and lemon verbena ice cream, anyone?)

                        1. re: buttertart

                          To be specific (because there's more than one Ghirardelli ground chocolate in a canister), it's this one:
                          Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa

                          And as much as I love what I made this weekend, my all-time fave special twist on this particular brownie is adding white chocolate chips and native raspberries, but I digress! ;) I can't wait to go pickin', then get in my kitchen and make these.

                          Ohmygoodness re your number 1 tenet--are you sure we can still be friends? :) I could easily sit with a bowl of melted Callebaut and go nuts with fresh strawbs. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            I'll forgive you because of your better qualities ;-) . And I will try your brownies soon!

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              And if you find your local market is out of or doesn't carry the Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa, look for Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa mix, which I discovered is exactly the same product, just branded differently. I assume it doesn't have thebrownie recipe on the label, though!


                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I'll have a look, since somebody is twisting my arm to try these! Thanks Caitlin.

                        2. I made strawberry crostata, using Giada’s crust recipe (1.5C flour, 2 T sugar, ½ tsp salt, 5 oz butter cut into small pieces and chilled, and 3-4 T ice water, mixed in food processor and chilled, and combining a couple of others for filling: sliced fresh strawbs mixed with 2 T sugar and set aside; the dough rolled out and filled to within 2” of edge with a layer of mixed softened cream cheese (the real stuff, not Philly), 2 T flour, 2 T sugar, 1 T vanilla extract. Strawberries piled on cream cheese mixture; crust edges turned up and sealed. A light egg wash. Sprinkle with golden sugar and press slightly. Bake 25 min in a 400 degree oven. Serve room temp or slightly warm. Mr. M. appreciative!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mnosyne

                            What real cream cheese are you referring to and where did you get it?

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              It was full-fat cream cheese from the local bagel store.

                          2. Sounds like it's strawberry season:). I just put together ina's summer pudding using local strawberries, a somewhat sad contaier of raspberries and some frozen blueberries from last years picking. I used a challah as the bread pudding part. I will report back tomorrow after it gets turned out from the pan! Also made 2 batches of strawberry jam but thats not really baking....

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: geminigirl

                              Love summer pudding, especially with raspberries and red currants. Sometimes use thinly-sliced stale poundcake i/o bread.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                oh, pound cake sounds like a great idea!

                                The cake came out of the pan easily, but not quite as acttractive as Ina's. It had a great berry flavor, something I've been having a really hard time capturing with other "cakes". I let it set from about 7pm till 10 am the next morning. I was worried it would be mushy but not at all, it could have sat longer as there were still some flecks of bread that could have absorbed more juice from the berries. Overall a winnner that I will use again this summer. It also sounds like a really good way to use up some of my leftover jars of misc jam / jelly in the fridge!

                            2. I baked this adapted recipe of the Swedish Visiting Cake with apples this afternoon:
                              Since it's only in the oven for 30 minutes, the thick apple slices were crunchy - next time, thinner sliced apple - or, I'll saute the apple slices in butter w/apple cider before topping the batter.
                              The DH says it's not sweet enough for his sugar-addicted palate. With 1/2 cup agave nectar, I knew he would not be satisfied - but I love the texture and layers of flavor - it's almost too sweet for me.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Cynsa

                                second attempt today - baked the original recipe (with one apple) on page 197 of Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours. DH is happy; sweet tooth satisfied

                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                    #3 is going to neighbors' brunch now; topped with sliced almonds and dried Granny Smith apple slices cooked in apple cider

                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                      No fair. Won't you be MY neighbor, Cynsa? I hope the third time is truly a charm. I want to try baking in a cast iron pan, too.

                                    2. re: Cynsa

                                      I would love a slice thank you!
                                      So pretty its making my mouth water!

                                  2. Last week I made Amanda Hesser’s Almond Cake, which has been touted as saving your soul. My usual MO is to read several recipes for the same thing, and make the version that sounds most reasonable. This time however, reason deserted me. I chose the Lonely Gourmet’s version (there are several on the ‘net), and she recommends buttering the pan well and not lining it with parchment. But there is also the instruction (which should have clued me in) to remove the cake from the pan and cool on a rack. This resulted in the cake breaking in half in cross-section! Obviously, she means: remove PAN from oven and cool on rack! So I slammed the two halves back together in the pan, and let it cool. After cooling I removed it to a plate and used powdered sugar to cover the cracks and crevices. I gotta say, that cake is really delicious, but next time, I’m going to follow a more conservative recipe.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: mnosyne

                                      The NYT recipe calls this "...the Shar-Pei of cakes...crumbles on the edges and invariably falls in the middle..."and the recipe calls for buttering and lining the pan, then buttering the paper and freezing to firm up the butter.

                                      Sounds good, maybe I'll try it.

                                      1. re: mnosyne

                                        That is too funny (the end of the description and how you saved the cake!). Having looked up the Lonely Planet A.H. recipe, I'm wondering if you might want to try a recipe I blogged back in March. It's from a local tea purveyor, Sundial Gardens. Tom Goddard is the pastry chef there and his Sherry-Almond Tea Cake is fabulous and not fussy. I thought of it not only because of the flavor, but because the recipe you mentioned says how nicely this cake "ages"...this one does the same. Next time you have a hankering, consider Mr. Goddard's recipe. It really is quite fab:
                                        Once on their site, click on RECIPES, then SHERRY-ALMOND TEA CAKE.

                                        I baked mine with a goose egg. Details and pictures here.
                                        I really think I did Mr. Goddard proud (I hope so, anyway!). MUCH RESPECT, MR. G! This cake AND your Ginger-Brandy Tea Cake really take the cake, both! :)

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          Thanks kattyeyes. The cake sounds delish. I'll give it a try!

                                      2. Rhubarb anything - rhubarb bars, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb cherry pie, and most recently, and really good, the rustic rhubarb tarts from smitten kitchen's blog.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mamueller

                                          Oh, smitten kitchen. Love.

                                          And I seriously can never have enough rhubarb. So great!

                                        2. CI's best drop biscuits as featured by Serious Eats. B'bye, Bisquick! Damn, these things are fantastic and so easy!

                                          Photos here:

                                          Just the recipe:

                                          Part of me wants to make a rustic strawberry tart, but most of me thinks it's easier and more fun to have shortcakes. The tarts are awfully pretty, though.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. I'm playing with rhubarb and rhubarb with strawberries or raspberries. In crisps, muffins, compotes, Looking for a good coffeecake recipe to use it in. Wonder if it would work in strudel. I've never made that and want to give that a try. Old fashion favorites i guess.

                                            Also craving the whoopie pies of my youth. Family recipe is long lost and I'm not sure if the filling was made with marshmellow fluff or Crisco. I know both options sound gross nasty, and that's partially why I haven't tried making them. They were sooo good, but some things are better when you don't know what's in them!

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                Awesome LauraGrace! I'm going to give that a whirl. That's a new website for me too. Thanks for sharing.

                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                  I don't have any rhubarb darn it. But I think I'll try it with the blueberries since I have them. The large crumb topping looks dynamite, and it immediately reminds me of my mom's apple pie crumb topping (she always referred to it as French apple pie). This looks so darn good, and I can' t wait to make this using rhubarb. Thanks for the link!

                                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                                    The recipe she uses from the nyt is excellent! I would like to try with blueberries as well...

                                                  2. re: Island

                                                    I think it's both Fluff AND Crisco. A bakery where I live uses butter instead of the Crisco, for a less stable, but way better tasting whoopie pie.

                                                  3. I'm testing for a new cookbook to be published in New York by two bakers there. Just made the Hungarian Walnut Roll and it is a thing of beauty...tastes delicious also. I sent the report on it then received a new recipe...this one for Sour Cream Cake which I'll make on Mon or Tues. Also pulled a recipe for "Noon Rogani" ( an Azerbijani turban shaped
                                                    coffee cake with cinnamon) from the King Arthur Flour site which I'll try soon. For a coffee I'm hosting on Monday, I'm baking KAF's " Salty Sweet Butterscotch Cookies". I don't care how hot it gets here in South Texas...supposed to be near 100 today and tomorrow. I bake, then I bake some more. I guess you could say I have a passion for baking. Love
                                                    making all kinds of breads as well as the sweet things. My neighbors love me as DH and I can't and shouldn't eat all that I bake so I share. Too much fun!

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: amazinc

                                                      Well, I do admire your baking fortitude, amazinc! Temperatures in Cairo are pretty similar to what you describe, and it's been really tough to turn on the oven, which turns the apartment into a furnace. My son is jonesing for some pie though, so I may bite the bullet and bake tomorrow. I went as far as getting all the ingredients today.

                                                      1. re: amazinc

                                                        Amazinc. Mmmmm Salty Sweet Butterscotch Cookies sound delish!! Can you share the source of that recipe? Sorry I'm a newbie and don't know if KAF is a cookbook/author or a regular on the board with some tasty recipes. Thanks.

                                                        1. re: Island

                                                          KAF is the King Arthur Flour site www.kingarthurflour.com and they offer thousands
                                                          of recipes for anything using flour. The company is employee owned in Vermont, I
                                                          think and all their products are top notch. They also travel over the country giving baking demonstrations which are very good and lots of fun. Watch for one in your
                                                          area, wherever that is. The mentioned cookies are a huge hit every time I take them anywhere. I know you'll love the site as much as I do. Enjoy!

                                                          1. re: amazinc

                                                            Thank you! I'm picking up lots of great tips and recipes on this board!

                                                            1. re: Island

                                                              Just made an amazing strawberry-rhubarb crumble that I found on Smitten Kitchen (I think it's a Nigella recipe). Brought it to a potluck and drat-all was gone before I got a bite!

                                                              1. re: jenniegirl

                                                                Just saw that recipe. Looked good and sounds like you have proof of that. LauraGrace just introduced me to that website and I've been perusing the goodies all weekend. Will have to try the strawberry-rhubarb pecan loaf too. I like making different quick breads, because...well, they're quick and I need to add to my usuals. I frequently make them for my husband to take to work. The coworkers love the homemades more than the boxed doughnuts.

                                                        2. re: amazinc

                                                          Well, inspired by you, amazinc, I made this lemon tart today, despite temperatures over 100.

                                                          I was going to make a peach pie, but the greengrocer did not have any peaches today, and my son was throwing around huge hints about pie. I like this recipe because you don't have to cook the curd first. However, my oven here is hideous, and impossible to gauge. I had brought a probe thermometer, which I was also using as an oven thermometer, but I think it's on the fritz -- it claimed my oven never got above about 250, and I know that's not the case. Can't wait to get home to my own kitchen and my own oven. Five more weeks!!

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            That will be a treat, I remember how delightful and luxurious it was to cook at home when we got back from 18 months in Taipei.

                                                        3. Made the RLB Heavenly Cakes chocolate valentine heart for dinner tomorrow - a former trainee and his sweetie are coming over for dinner before going back to France, so I thought it would be nice for them. Need cream to whip and raspberries to top it with. My mom's 9" heart pan is quite shallow, so it sort of bloomed over the sides a bit, and I shaved a bit off it when getting it out of the pan, so it looks a bit tatty, but based on the last time I made it it's a keeper.

                                                          20 Replies
                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            That cake is divine. It truly melts in your mouth. And the raspberries absolutely make it (I had made it with a milk chocolat ganache and no berries previously, no comparison). This is one for you, souschef!

                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                It's really something. I like it much better than the Cake Bible (which I'm actually being drawn into more by our friend souschef). BPL should have it if you want to scope it out first.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  No, I just WANT it.

                                                                  I had the Cake Bible for a few years, didn't use it so much and eventually sold it, with a bunch of other books, in a cookbook cleanout. I'm sorta sorry now...

                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                    Get it already, you won't be sorry.
                                                                    Cake Bible I loved when it very first came out and then it fell into disuse (seemed too fussy), I'm rediscovering it now.
                                                                    PS did you see the NYT Book Review Summer Reading section last Sunday? Lots of juicy stuff there - cookbooks, travel, and gardening.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      I did indeed see it, and saved it for future reference/purchases.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        I can see how the Cake Bible could be considered fussy, but I enjoy the precision and that RLB has really researched her subject. I also like it that she also gives you weights as I HATE measuring stuff using cups. And where else do you easily find out the weight of one egg white?

                                                                        I think of The Cake Bible as a reference manual, and Heavenly Cakes an application manual.

                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                          I'm warming to it too (the CB). Wouldn't have been able to make my husband's bday cake very easily without it (chestnut génoise and very easy chestnut buttercream, rum syrup and our favorite confection marrons glacés to decorate it on top). Weighing is more pleasant than measuring I agree.

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            PS souschef how long do we have left in the St Honoré bakeoff? (sweating)

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              If you are sweating we can restart the counter. Let's make it an auspicious day for the deadline, so how about Bastille Day. I was supposed to make it for my birthday earlier this month, but the party got cancelled.

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                That's a good date. I'm having some issues with my new oven (doesn't seem to heat to temp (I got an oven thermometer) and it's hit and miss - either that or I'm so habituated to the old one that I'm not able to bake at proper temperatures)! By then I should have it calibrated.

                                                                    2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                      I've sworn off buying more cookbooks since the internet is my go to these days, but I may have to make an exception for this one. Always dangerous to head to the cookbook section of the bookstore.

                                                                    3. re: buttertart

                                                                      I just checked it out. Wow! Sounds really good, with a cocoa cake done the right way. I have to make this next.

                                                                      BTW did you notice that there is a Rigo Jancsi in there too?

                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        Yep, that was what got me thinking about it again. I'm going to wait until there's a gang to feed. This heart-shaped cake is a dream.

                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                        Yes indeed, that's it. It truly is a fantastic cake. (I'm having fantasies about making it white chocolate - a white choc cake of hers subbing for the choc - with halved fresh lichees on it for my bday in August, lichees might be done then though...maybe peaches.)

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          I like the picture of it on the back cover of the book - two forks and a half-eaten cake. I'm planning to do that cake for the birthday of a niece in August, adding some chocolate leaves for decoration.

                                                                          Don't know about doing it in white chocolate - I find white chocolate too sweet.

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            It is a lovely cake, perfect for a special occasion. Despite my extensive chocolate baking, I would usually rather have a nut or fruit-flavored dessert over a chocolate one! And I love good white choc. The halved lichees would make a sexy-looking cake, it seems to me.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              I would go for chocolate before anything else, provided I baked it myself - too many disappointing chocolate cakes in restaurants (poor quality chocolate, served cold, etc). I did, though, have a rather nice almond and raspberry tart last week from the takeout section of a restaurant here, and would easily go for it again.

                                                                              Halved lichees would make a sexy-looking cake? Don't know about that, though they would look like a posterior, methinks !

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                Depends on how they were halved and arranged, I suppose!

                                                                    4. Tomorrow I'm baking buttermilk corneberad with jalapeno peppers and scallions.
                                                                      I'm making black bean soup with sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and maybe some cheese. I realize its hotter than blazes, but I make soups and pots of beans every summer for some unknown reason. Its been ages since I've made this particular cornbread, and I'm truly looking foward to it, 90 degrees and all.

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                        Buttermilk cornbread sounds yummy. :) Recipe, please?

                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          1 fresh jalapeno -seends removed and cut into tiny dice
                                                                          2 scallions - sliced thinly
                                                                          For the jalapeno, and scallions I cut up 1 jalapeno or serrano tiny dice, and slice scallions - saute in butter until softened and set aside.
                                                                          1 cup Albers Yellow Corn Meal
                                                                          1 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                          1/4 cup granulated sugar
                                                                          1 Tbsp. baking powder
                                                                          1 tsp. salt
                                                                          1 cup milk - swap buttermilk
                                                                          1/3 cup vegetable oil
                                                                          1 large egg, lightly beaten
                                                                          this is albers recipe, with the buttermilk swapout and the peppers and scallions added.

                                                                          To the bowl add your cornmeal, sift your dry ingredients. add your milk, and egg and oil mix well until there are no lumps. Add the scallions and peppers last. Pour into 8x8 buttered dish, and bake at 400 degrees 20-25 mins. Top with melted butter and let it cool before cutting.
                                                                          I think it makes sort of cakey amd moist cornbread which is my preferred.

                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                            Thank you. I'll have to compare to my recent fave, which--I think--is from the KA site. I, too, prefer a moist cornbread. I have powdered buttermilk now so it's a whole new game for this kat!

                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                              Sounds great. I plan to make it too, minus the chili. I was wondering if I could use melted butter instead of vegetable oil - oil in something cakey does not sound right to me.

                                                                              Wish I could buy buttermilk in containers smaller than I litre, though. BTW Alice Medrich has a great buttermilk cake (the prune and Armagnac one) in Cocolat.

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                Here is the other cornbread recipe I made from KA that I really liked--souschef, it has butter instead of oil, so that might ring your bell...but I'd like to add, vegetable oil and a moist cake do indeed go hand in hand. My go-to chocolate cake is Hershey's Deep Dark--that's the one with the cup of boiling water, you can sub for Guinness, too!!!)...it is moist as the day is long. So you may want to try chef chicklet's recipe as is before you change it up. Just a suggestion. :) P.S. Can you not buy buttermilk in small canisters as I do?


                                                                                P.P.S. I used this cornbread to make my stuffing last Thanksgiving.

                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                  Thanks for the link. I might make it this weekend. To answer your question, no I can't buy buttermilk in small canisters, which is unfortunate as I always end up throwing out some.

                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    I'm sorry, souschef (can't you read my mind?!)...my mom clued me in to POWDERED buttermilk. It comes in a 12 oz. canister you keep in the fridge, so there's nothing to throw away. I've seen it available by mail order, too, if it's not in your supermarket...but take a look, it may well be! Here is my spokesfeline to show you what it looks like! :) See second pic in this post!

                                                                                    Otherwise, here is a link to the product itself:

                                                                              2. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                How much melted butter do you top it with?

                                                                                How sweet is it? I don't like cornbread that is too sweet.

                                                                                I'd like to see a recipe that uses sour cream as I love sour cream cakes (don't have to watch my weight or cholesterol).

                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                  I made the cornbread today, and really like it; my wife thinks it is "divine".

                                                                                  I used a bit of red bell pepper instead of the chili, and used 3 tablespoons of sugar instead of 1/4 cup. I ran out of vegetable oil, so used olive oil instead, and forgot about the melted butter. I also used whole milk. But it was great. Thanks for the recipe.

                                                                            2. This afternoon, I had a ffriend and her four-and-a-half-year-old daughter over for a ladies' tea party. I baked cream scones with bits of crystallized ginger in them, which were served warm with lemon curd, and mini black-bottom cupcakes. We rounded out the table with a pot of orange-spice herbal tea and a bowl of strawberries.

                                                                              My young guest was confident about how to properly hold a teacup (pinkie in the air!), and also (amusingly) in her assertion that "a real, real tea party would never include scones." Of course, I'm pretty sure her prior experience has been self-directed and involves a toy tea set.

                                                                              I made my favorite scones, in which heavy cream is the only fat. They could not be simpler, and are fantastically light and tender. You can add anything you like, e.g., currants or other dried fruit, citrus zest, nuts, etc. - just stir it into the flour mixture before you add the cream. Today I used about 3 T. finely diced crystallized ginger. Other favorites include chopped toasted hazelnuts or, if I'm going to eat them au natural, dried cranberries and orange zest. They're best if not overloaded by add-ins.

                                                                              2 cups AP flour
                                                                              1/4 cup sugar
                                                                              1 T. baking powder
                                                                              1/2 t. salt
                                                                              1 1/4 cups heavy cream (plus more if needed)

                                                                              Preheat oven to 425F. Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in any additions. Pour in 1 1/4 cups cream and stir to incorporate all the flour mixture. If you can't incorporate all the flour in 10-15 strokes, drizzle in a bit more cream (I often need about a T extra). Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead gently once or twice to bring together. Pat into a half-inch-thick round and cut into wedges with a floured knife, or cut with a floured biscuit cutter. (This will make 8 or so 3-inch round scones or around 15 2-inch round.) Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat, and bake until just golden and firm on top, about 15 minutes depending on size.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                So cute - I'm sure the little one will remember the tea party forever - I used to "play ladies" with my mom, it was super fun. The scones sound great, I'll make them with currants soon (the "tea biscuits" of my childhood had currants in them, the scones - always pronounced scaans - were a bakery item, a triangular light potato roll dusted with flour on top, actually should have been called baps I think). .

                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    Thank you, Caitlin - I baked your lovely scones this afternoon for a tea with four friends; adding dried apricots, chopped to a small dice and sprinkled with raw sugar on top. It's deliciously easy and simply wonderful with clotted cream and blackberry jam.

                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                      I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Cynsa! They offer great payoff for minimal effort.

                                                                                  2. Checkerboard cookies. These require two colors of shortbread dough, a lot of rolling and chilling. They were supposed to be square but ours came out rectangular. Still extremely cool in my book.

                                                                                    My son was lobbying to make these, but is less excited about eating them. My husband and I like them very much.

                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: the_MU

                                                                                      Snazzy! You're a more ambitious baker than I - rolling out done only under duress ("why do we always have cake and not pie? I love pie!").

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        I will confess to store-bought pie crust for that very reason! Homemade egg noodles are the only things that get rolled out in this house.

                                                                                        Those checkerboard cookies are GORGEOUS.

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          When using a mixer to make the shortbread, the actual effort involved isn't actually that great -- it required way less rolling than pie dough, actually. You roll the two colors out and stack them on top of each other, and the rest of the work is stacking, slicing, wrapping and chucking the dough in the freezer to get cold so you can stack & slice again. Each actual step takes only a couple of minutes.

                                                                                          The initial rolling is what determines the final dimension of the cookies. I actually over-trimmed the two slabs, which is why they were a little flat. But I made round, marbled cookies out of the trimmings so we didn't have to wait as long to slice & bake the first batch.

                                                                                          1. re: the_MU

                                                                                            One of these days I will force myself to overcome the rolling pin aversion. I bet the marbled ones were pretty too!

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              They didn't last long enough to get their picture taken :)

                                                                                        2. re: the_MU

                                                                                          Wow! These are fabulous looking!

                                                                                          1. re: the_MU

                                                                                            such talent! I have to make these, but I'm scared!

                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                              Just recipe following. Not scary when you see it written out. From the King Arthur Cookie Book:

                                                                                              Vanilla dough:

                                                                                              6 oz butter
                                                                                              1/2 c powdered sugar
                                                                                              1 1/2 tsp vanilla
                                                                                              1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                              1 1/2 c flour

                                                                                              Chocolate: same as above but sub 1/4 c cocoa for 1/4 c of the flour. We used Hershey's special dark, which gives a nice Oreo color.

                                                                                              Cream together the butter, sugar, salt & vanilla. When well mixed, add flour (& cocoa for the chocolate ones) and mix to cookie dough consistency.

                                                                                              Roll out into two 8 x 10 x 1/2 in slabs and stick them together with a wash of eggwhite w/ a little water beaten in. Cut dough lengthwise into 4 strips. Make 2 stacks of 2 each, again sticking them together with eggwhite. You should have two strips of four alternating layers. Wrap each & chuck in the freezer for at least 2 hrs.

                                                                                              Take them out, let thaw for 15 min. Take each strip and slice into 4 strips lengthwise. Stack them on their sides, sticking together with a coat of the eggwhite, alternating the colors to create the checkerboard pattern. Freeze for another hour at least.

                                                                                              After the hour, thaw for another 15 min and then slice into 1/2 in thick cookies. Bake @ 350 for 13-15 min.

                                                                                              KA also gives directions for other two-tone cookies: yin-yangs, bullseyes, spirals, marbled, etc. Plus another variation where you sub a packet of fruit jello for the sugar to make brightly colored fruit-flavored cookies.

                                                                                          2. I had some left over pie dough from making a lemon tart yesterday, so I made a free-form peach crostata. I just rolled out the dough on a piece of parchment, slice peaches to about 1 inch from the edge, sprinkled well with sugar, turned up the edge and baked. It was very pretty and delicious I am told. It was small and disappeared quickly.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              Roxlet, you didn't try any, not even a little bite? Peaches are starting to come in from NJ now, saw it on the news at noon today. Seems early.

                                                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                Way early. We got some NJ raspberries yesterday that were delicious, they're way too early too. Weird year.

                                                                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                  Yes, I did have a taste and it was very good -- quite fresh tasting. However, with 115 degree temperatures in Cairo, my kitchen has become unbearable, so my Egyptian baking days have officially come to an end. We leave on the 1st, so I have 3 more weeks until I get my own kitchen back! Can't wait.

                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                  Are the peaches at least good there? Hope so.

                                                                                                3. Having BBQ lunch for my daughter's softball team. For dessert, I pressed Ghirardelli mix brownies into paper muffin cups to create a bowl. Made an impromptu "freezer" mocha mousse: Melted chocolate mixed into hot cream mixed with espresso powder, then folded into italian meringue (hot sugar syrup beaten into egg whites). Added lightly crushed box of Famous Chocolate Wafers. Filled brownie cups with mousse mixture, topped with one whole wafer. Into the freezer.

                                                                                                  1. Making a "crustless rhubarb custard pie" tonight. Have rhubarb cravings!

                                                                                                    1. On a whim made blueberry muffins from a Fannie Farmer Baking Book berry muffin recipe last night (recipe calls for just about any berry but blue). Had to up the liquid by 1/4 cup or so bcs the recipe called for part of the berries to be crushed (and blues crushed, not pretty. Very tasty and not too sweet, a real muffin muffin, not cake.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        These kept overnight too, even better last night when I snuck one in the kitchen late.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          What is this--the chow confessional for you? ;) Brush away the crumbs and go in peace, my child.

                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                            Snuck muffin is always the sweetest!

                                                                                                      2. This isn't as fancy as some of the other posts, but I've been stuck on cake balls for a little while now. You can do so many different combinations!

                                                                                                        Bake any flavor cake, let it cool and crumble into pieces then mix with your choice of frosting. Shape into balls, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and dip in chocolate.

                                                                                                        I don't usually purchase cake mixes, but they were on sale and I was curious about making this recipe. Now I'm just trying to find the perfect combination. Buttery yellow cake with mini-choc chip frosting and dipped in white chocolate was one of my favorites.

                                                                                                        1. I was requested to bring something chocolate to a birthday party, so I made a Mexican chocolate bundt cake, with a Kahlua glaze and topped with chopped toasted pecans. Big success at the party. Wish I'd taken a photo, as I have to say it looked very nice. I put it in a cake box to transport it, and one guest was surprised to learn I had baked it. Love it when someone says something I've baked looks professional!

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                            Turns out my brother snapped a couple of pictures with his phone before the cake was packed up (the first is a bit out of focus): http://picasaweb.google.com/frobtech/...

                                                                                                            I hasten to add that I don't get those "looks professional" comments super often, because mostly my baked goods really don't.

                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                  That cake looks as though it belongs in a magazine. The icing looks so perfectly draped, just gorgeous! I long to make my bake goods of this quality, thanks for the photo!

                                                                                                              1. banana bread and blueberry bread

                                                                                                                Later today, I'm making lemon buttermilk cookies. Cross your fingers, it's supposedly hacked from a recipe found in Gourmet, and will be new for me.

                                                                                                                1. I made desserts for the annual general meeting of a board I'm on...

                                                                                                                  I baked my usual brownies and made tartlets using the Lime Tart with Blackberries and Blueberries from epicurious. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                  The curd is quite tart and unlike other comments from the site I thought it came together fairly quickly - not 6 minutes like the recipe suggested, but it only took 10 minutes using my AC double boiler(I have kids I use the double boiler as insurance). Covered it and put it in the fridge and it set up beautifully.

                                                                                                                  I baked the tartlets for 15 min at 350F in silicone mini muffin pans let them cool and popped them out to cool completely while I picked over the blueberries and then it was time for assembly.

                                                                                                                  Each tart held maybe 2tsp. of curd so I have a lot left over. I'm trying to decide whether to make more tarts or ?? All in all, fantastic - I loved the smooth creaminess of the curd, the pop of the berries and the crispness of the crust. Definite keeper.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                    Let's see if the picture will post this time:

                                                                                                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                        That is a very lucky board, let me tell you. :) Gorgeous work!

                                                                                                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                          The recipe gets some pretty good reviews. The lime curd sounds very nice, and I'm going to make this. Just a quick question, about how many limes did you buy for 3/4 cup?

                                                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                            In my experience, a decent-sized lime usually has about 2 T. juice, so maybe 6 limes for 3/4 cup, but I'd make sure to have a few extra, just in case.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                              Sorry for the delayed response, been daytripping with the kids this weekend. I think it was six? I bought a 1lb bag and used all of them to get the 3/4c.

                                                                                                                        2. just baked the Ultimate Banana Bread recipe from July 2010 issue of CI - can you imagine? - banana juice! I'll let it rest before tasting.

                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                            omg. are you kidding! That certainly does look like the ultimate banana bread to me!
                                                                                                                            Very nice top, that's what everyone around my house goes for, the almost candy like top.

                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                              Good but not Great; tasted and declared second-best to the old favorite Cook's Illustrated recipe with yogurt

                                                                                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                I was going to add that I've been making banana bread.. so I'll add the recipe I've been using. It's really nice.

                                                                                                                                From "The Sweet Spot" cookbook by Genevieve Ko (asian inspired desserts)

                                                                                                                                1/3 cup unsalted butter room temp
                                                                                                                                1 cup flour
                                                                                                                                1 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                                                1 tsp baking soda
                                                                                                                                1/4 cup honey
                                                                                                                                1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp cinnamon
                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                                1 cup roughly mashed ripe baby bananas (works just as good with normal bananas I've tried both)
                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp vanilla ext
                                                                                                                                1 large egg
                                                                                                                                1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt or sour cream (never tried with sour cream)
                                                                                                                                1 cup chocolate chips, optional (never tried it with chocolate chips)

                                                                                                                                1. preheat to 350, butter a loaf pan
                                                                                                                                2. sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, set aside
                                                                                                                                3. put the butter, honey, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl beat on high speed (or high arm speed if you're me...) until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add bananas and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until the mixture looks "broken" or lumpy, about 1 minute. There should be a few small chunks of banana remaining
                                                                                                                                4. Turn to medium low and beat in the egg until incorporated. Turn to low and gradually add the sifter flour mix, until no traces of flour remain, about 10 seconds. Add the yogurt and mix until the batter has just a few remaining white streaks, about 5 seconds (I fold, since I don't have a mixer). Be sure to avoid overmixing. Add chocolate chips if you're using 'em.
                                                                                                                                5. Lump it into the loaf pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes. Cook the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then upend it out of the mold and let it cool completely on the rack.

                                                                                                                                So good!! Give this one a try, I ended up making it about 5 times in a row first time I made it :) Spread some butter on the slices too.

                                                                                                                                Also a good reminder you can freeze ripe bananas pre-mashed before they go bad, perfect place to use them.

                                                                                                                                1. re: SocksManly

                                                                                                                                  This will be my next-to-bake as soon as I have the prerequisite ripe bananas. I think I will go out and find those 'baby bananas' for this one. thank you :^)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                    Cool Cynsa, it's a great recipe! Any bananas will do really, can't say I noticed much difference when i used the little ones. It says about 5 little bananas, and I generally use about 2 full sized big ones, well, almost 2.. I can never resist a bite of those ripe bananas y'know? :) I can smell them now.. mmm..

                                                                                                                                    Oh and it's "Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes" near the end there, not cook.. :)

                                                                                                                                    good luck! PS your cake above looks much darker than this one turns out for me, so if your oven is a bit hot I'd lean towards 40 minutes. Then again maybe that was just the recipe. This one turns out for me like the colour of the top of a carrot muffin.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: SocksManly

                                                                                                                                      yes, my oven is running hot and I did decrease the baking time to 40 minutes; it's still a dark-bake, but not overdone.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: SocksManly

                                                                                                                                    thank you for this recipe - it's delicious. I baked with yogurt not sour cream and I like the flavors of the honey + brown sugar. This is light and moist and I'll be baking it again :^) I might even add the chocolate chips next time.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                      No problem, glad you liked it. This recipe gives me the illusion that I know how to bake.. ;)

                                                                                                                                      I tried it with the chocolate chips once last month, but after the 5 minutes of cooling when I tried to shake it out onto my cooling rack the whole middle of it just fell out.. So I just sort of ate handfuls whenever I walked into the kitchen. heh. Seemed like maybe too many chocolate chips, it was super chocolatey

                                                                                                                                  3. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the link. That's on my to-bake list.

                                                                                                                              2. I am working on a bacon and cheese biscuit recipe. I am tweaking it to make it more fluffy. I'm almost there.

                                                                                                                                1. my list of baking to do's within the next 2 weeks:

                                                                                                                                  Green tea cake roulade with a fresh peach and whipped cream filling
                                                                                                                                  blueberry scone/galette and/or
                                                                                                                                  blueberry & peach galette
                                                                                                                                  Strawberry Napoleon made with local strawberries and a honey ricotta

                                                                                                                                  1. Just took congo bars out of the oven. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                      Somebody's looking for advice on these (as Hello Dollys) here on another thread, maybe you could lend your expertise?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        I thought congo bars were more like tollhouse cookie bars...magic cookie bars are hello dollys (in my world, anyway). I love them all. I don't discriminate...and as you probably know, am way too fond of sweetened condensed milk. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                          You're probably right. Condensed milk was one of my mom's favorite things too - used to make a salad dressing with it, eggs, and vinegar. Weird but good.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            I'm try to even imagine what sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and vinegar would be like, and I can't.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                              Somewhat like Thousand Islands without the islands, not as bad as it would seem.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                Still laughing--at and with--you and Caitlin! The things we learn here!!! :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, it was a fixture of my mom's kitchen (I bet the recipe came off the back of an Eagle can, I'll keep an eye out for it in her recipes, not that I'm intending to make it) - whenever I think of condensed milk I think of it. Was maybe a WWII wartime kitchen thing, I don't know. She used it where you would use mayonnaise (made a heck of an egg salad and deviled eggs, we buttered our sandwich bread so it wasn't used on sandwiches).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    And it was definitely condensed, not evaporated, milk? Wowza sweet.

                                                                                                                                    2. Cherry Almond Cake--my handful of twists on a Williams Sonoma recipe I found. I don't like fussing too much when I bake (flour and butter pan then parchment--bleaaahhhh!) and found it's pretty simple to make this lovely cake in a pie plate. Somebody please come over and have some...I can't eat this whole thing by myself!!! :)

                                                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                        That sounds great. Almonds and cherries (or any stone fruit - plums, peaches, etc., too) are so perfect together. Your cake is very similar to the galleygirl pear tart (actually a cake)*, only with the addition of almonds.

                                                                                                                                        *In 2004, galleygirl posted her friend Laurie's pear "tart" recipe, and it took off like a firestorm in the CH community, with people making it with all kinds of fruit. (Here is my original report on making it with sour cherries: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/281699 ) Also along the same lines, and again something that took off like a firestorm on CH, was the similar recipe posted the following summer by Sir Gawain: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/279043

                                                                                                                                        Sounds even better with almonds!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                          It's so funny, I almost sent you a separate message as when I saw my final photo, it reminded me so much of of your avatar (though your avatar is prettier!). :) I started off wanting to make cherry almond muffins a friend had posted, then was going back and forth between the WS recipe, one from Martha...there are but so many ways to bake a cake, HA HA! I loved the addition of the almond flour...and I agree, this cake would be perfect for any stone fruit, so versatile for the summer.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                            My avatar is a plum and almond tart from Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich. It is really good, and also very easy - pop all the crust ingredients in food processor, then press in the bottom of tart pan and place plums on top, then bake. I'll be making it again this summer when a family member is pressing bags of plums from her tree on me, I'm sure. I'd be happy to share the recipe, if you are interested.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                              As if you have to ask me twice! Yes, please, I'd love that. :)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                This is a really good cookbook. There's a whole thread on it with a bunch of reports: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514833

                                                                                                                                                Of related interest (almonds), the Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte in the book is really simple, but very sophisticated flavor. Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                In this tart, Medrich says to use plum that are sweet-tart (she suggests Santa Rosa, Laroda, Friar, and Elephant Heart, and also pluots), rather than sweet (she says Italian prune plums aren't tangy enough).

                                                                                                                                                Plum and Almond Tart (paraphrased from Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich).

                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup (2.5 oz) whole almonds (blanched or not
                                                                                                                                                )3/4 cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                1/4 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                                                1/4 tsp. almond extract
                                                                                                                                                3/4 cup (3.4 oz) AP flour
                                                                                                                                                3/8 tsp. baking powder
                                                                                                                                                1 lg. egg
                                                                                                                                                3 T. firm but not hard unsalted butter, cut in pieces
                                                                                                                                                4 lg. or 6 smaller juicy, flavorful plums

                                                                                                                                                Preheat oven to 375F with rack in lower third. Butter well a 9.5-inch tart pan w/removable bottom (I bet even a 9-in. springform would work). Process nuts, sugar, salt, and extract until nuts are finely ground. Add flour and baking soda and pulse to mix well, then add egg and butter and pulse until the dough looks damp and clumps around the blade. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan (not up sides).

                                                                                                                                                Cut plums in half, quarters, or sixths, depending on size, and press lightly into dough, within a half inch of the border. Bake until pastry is deep golden at edges, and golden between plums, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool briefly, then remove the pan rim. Serve warm or room temp.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                  Darn it, too many people referencing "Pure Dessert". I'm trying to not buy any more cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                  Made crème caramel yesterday for brunch dessert today. Got finished before my camera got taken out.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                    Come on my man, get it. Where else are you going to find a biggish selection of recipes using chestnut flour???

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      You just said the key phrase: "chestnut flour". I bought some 2 days ago. Amazon here I come.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                        Chestnut poundcake with marrons glacés bits in it maybe? (She calls for regular ones but glacés are much better. For this kind of thing I use the Turkish ones that are imported in jars in syrup, available year-round and cheap relatively speaking.)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          Looking forward to making it. Just ordered the book; avoided paying for shipping ($6.99) by also buying what sounds like an awesome piano CD.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                            That's the way to do it - what piano CD?

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the elbow in the ribs to get the book. Received it today. Definitely interesting and different recipes. First will be the chestnut pound cake.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                              Mmm mmm good, you'll love it (and the book).

                                                                                                                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                  lovely - save a piece for me, please! we've been eating baskets of cherries so fast, there's not enough left for baking

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                    You betcha. :) All those antioxidants are good for us, right?

                                                                                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                Wow, looks fantabulous. I'll be over for dessert tonight!

                                                                                                                                              3. Baked Claudia Roden's Orange and Almond cake; pre-cooked the oranges for two hours. Loved the orange flavor and the rustic texture of the ground almonds.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                  That cake is nice with Meyer lemons, too.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                    good to know; I have Meyer Lemons, green now and soon to ripen :^)
                                                                                                                                                    do I still boil them for two hours?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, the only change is which citrus you use.

                                                                                                                                                2. Don't know if this counts, but steamed coconut cakes with chocolate sauce
                                                                                                                                                  These sounds sooo good to me right now for whatever reason, serving these directly after dinner tonight.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Since it's my husband's b-day, I was back to my dear King Arthur Baking Book twice today, first for banana-chocolate chip muffins this AM, then later for a devil's food birthday cake with easy chocolate buttercream.

                                                                                                                                                    Muffins were very cakelike, made with the stick-of-butter:cup of sugar formula. I usually like muffins to be less sweet, but they had nice crispy, sugary edges and the recipe says one's guilt is supposed to be assuaged by the fact that half the flour is whole wheat.

                                                                                                                                                    Best chocolate cake I've ever made (not that I've made that many), though I should've turned the pans halfway thru bake time. Had to trim a bunch; that's how I know the cake was good! Crumb is not especially reddish because the cocoa was only half-natural, half Dutch-process -- the recipe calls for all "natural" cocoa. The frosting was much much better after adding an extra 1/4 c of cocoa to it.

                                                                                                                                                    I stuck some drained sugar-macerated strawberries between the layers because Birthday Boy likes that sort of thing. Hope they hold up.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: the_MU

                                                                                                                                                      That's the whole grain KA book? Must get farther into it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        Nope its just the plain "Baker's Companion" one. Been meaning to check out the whole grain one too, but don't have it yet. I've come across very few clunkers in the KA books.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm trying these


                                                                                                                                                      Finally found the malted milk at the grocery store in the aisle w/ the coffee, creamers and chocolate syrup.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                                                        What malted milk powder brand did you find? Those are some flat cookies; not necessarily a bad thing. No baking powder in the recipe. Great for the ice cream sandwich-chipwich concoction, I think.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Say, just wanted to alert all to a mindblowing-sounding recipe that Caroline1 was kind enough to post on the "Chemical reactions" thread on HC, for a dessert confection with sour cream and brown sugar that is making me wish I were at home right now and could get baking. Checky checky as a certain lady I know says...

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. Over to part IV: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7157...
                                                                                                                                                          In the meantime, for those who are Alice Medrich and Rose Levy Beranbaum fans, I made the melting chocolate meringue tartlets from the former's "Cocolat" (fabulous, added marrons glacés bits - Turkish jarred - instead of the nuts it called for, and had enough of the meringue left to make 8 3" meringue cookies after the tarts - in a standard muffin tin, it made 8 tarts), and the chocolate parfaits (frozen, not baked) from the latter (also fabulous, and dead easy, just an egg-yolk enriched ganache with whipped cream folded in and then frozen). The Bernachon book is a treasure, man the recipes in it are amazing...must become a more disciplined baker and candy-maker...recipes are detailed and clear as you would expect from RLB.

                                                                                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            Oh I wish you'd take a photo if you're able to? I love seeing the food you all make, especially the baked items! Such talent on this site, its encouraging to me, I'm trying to improve my baking too.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, pictures would definitely help me believe that buttertart makes all those things ! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                Hey hey, me no lie! I'll take a pic of each tonight (if there are any tarts left).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't doubted your baking output for a sec.

                                                                                                                                                                  On another topic, what is the Bernachon book you write of? A Passion for Chocolate?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, the one that Rose Levy Beranbaum wrote in the 90's. What a book!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      OK, photo will be posted, but you gotta go to Part IV to see it!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh I believe you, but you see me, I love to post my photos when I rememer, or am able to because we're not starving. I don't have a lot of baking experience, I'd love to see your beautiful baked goods. I'm a much better cook than baker, even foods that I've not made before, they don't intimidate or put me off. Baking does, I really really have to push myself, so your photos and posts are very inspiring and encouraging. Plus some of these things I have no idea what they're supposed to look like. I would love to see your tarts!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you! I think my friend buttertart knows I am just kidding!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh yeah! Me too. Luv ya souschef (and all y'all).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                With milk and cookies (or at least cookies) after.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Sunday, I baked Wolfgang Puck's Challah bread. I began with the intention to cut the recipe in half since it was for 2 loaves. Anyway, big mess later, I got the sponge into a bowl to proof. This is a rich bread, brioche like with a beautiful texture. While baking my dh commented on how good the house smelled. I guess the intoxicating aroma erased the fact that it was hotter than blazes in the house, cause he never complained.

                                                                                                                                                                    Will make the sables I was planning for last night. I ran out of steam, its cooler before noon, so will get the log into the fridge and make a few today. I'm very anxious to try this little cookie.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Hey all you (hep) cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, let's all mosey over to the nice fresh Part IV and continue talking about one of our favorite topics...BAKING!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Our dog (baby) Romeo's being treated for Lymphoma and when I asked how they gave him the injectables/IV's they said they have him lie down on the floor while they fed him dog cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                        I wanted to return the favor for all the docs and techs who take such good care of him so I made a tin which was study in shortbread(shortbread-like) cookies: PH Korova chocolate cookies w/fleur de sel, Alice Medrich's Pecan Bourbon Shortbread (with a little graham flour for nuttiness) and Brown Butter Rosemary Shortbread cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                        Love these recipes for their uniqueness and for being not too sweet - they seemd to be a hit at the clinic too :)

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stephle

                                                                                                                                                                          Sending healing thoughts for Romeo. That was (literally!) very sweet of you to treat the staff with baked goodies. I'm sure they appreciated them greatly.

                                                                                                                                                                          Reminder, please join us on the new "What are you baking these days?" (Part IV already!) here:

                                                                                                                                                                          See you soon...and stay cool even though our kitchens are always HOT in a good way! :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. fresh fruit napoleon with a honeyed ricotta cream =)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Hey everybody, let's all get together on Part IV, where the baking fun continues!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. A Southern tradition-dump cake! Totally bad for you, completely processed, soooo tasty!